Sunday, 14 November 2010
I'm waiting earnestly to have some kind of epiphany, where I wake up and realise how brilliant this film really was, just like the reviews say!
And just perhaps I'll realise that the issue was indeed my lack of wit or know how. I was just having a sleepy evening and somehow dodged the profound symbolism waiting to overwhelm me.
It's been a couple evenings now and I'm still as puzzled and agitated at having lost 2 hours of my life watching this stew of muddled ingredients and painfully drawn out moments.
I'm a big fan of Sofia Coppola inventions, her Marc Jacob commercials, her subtle photography, soft, vintage references and yes, interesting, although not always wildly engaging films. The cast and soundtrack of Virgin Suicides were intensely romantic, i felt like this woman from the netherlands of Hollywood royalty had touched upon something visually and emotionally that I'd only captured in my honey scented dreams.
And then of course she went and made a film that perfectly and quite scarily captured a moment in time, a sentiment appropriate for only this generation of cynics and young intellects. Lost in Translation, again, a brilliant soundtrack and performances to boot.
Mary Antoinette was purely a guilty pleasure to be tasted, partly swallowed and spat out by all.
Pretty, but also pretty vacant.
Was she a one hit wonder people were starting to ask?
Was it her heritage alone that set her up for this perfect fall?
No! I said, absolutely not!
She is classy and stylish and perfectly poised to take the prize.
What could be more appropriate than a savvy, young woman of extraordinarily royal blood lines to conquer the Hollywood dynasty?!?!
And then man oh man, she just had to go prove me wrong.
Why did they let her make this?
I know that everyone was at the previewing of this film, Francis, Roman, Jason, the whole clan. Her husband, probably the whole band, her publicists, managers, financiers, producers and so on. And youre really telling me that not one of them, not one, could summons the courage to desperately urge her to re edit or re shoot some of the film or just shoot the film in the head.
I dont know how it works. So, its absolutely naive and ridiculous of me to assume that i do and that this calamity could have been rectified somehow at any point without risking some major losses.
I guess, what i'm asking is why did she make this film?
The story was grotesquely cliche, the acting terribly uninspiring and the music, even the music was dum. Foo Fighters and unplugged Julian Casablancas? Who cares man???
If you have any light to shed on this, then, pleeeeeeeeeeeeeese alarm me, alert me, enlighten me. Otherwise I am destined to take shelter under this rock of deep Coppola disappointment which apparently I am but one of only few!
Friday, 12 November 2010
I was watching a doco on the history of LSD the other day and about half way through they announce that one of its more dedicated followers, Ken Kesey, wrote a little novel called One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest. Sadly, Ken was so distraught at the interpretation of his novel, that he refuses to even watch it, instead, deciding to sue the producers of the film, as it is not presented through the eyes of Chief, as is in the novel, instead we see it through the eyes of Mc Murphy. Played seamlessly by Mr Jack Nicholson.
Brash, unkept, animalistic and really very, very sexy. Nicholson, like Brando before him possesses an undeniable magnetism that draws far beyond the screen.
It's hard to say whether this film, although still brilliant in execution, would be as interesting, as charming, as enjoyable were he not playing the lead of McMurphy. It's important that he is dangerous and he is, although, he is never menacing or corrupt.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a weighty, provocative film. To create the quiet suspense and contempt we experience throughout ain't no easy feat, however, director Milos Foreman does a brilliant job of this. Mostly because we develop a strong connection with McMurphy and his loony bin friends, Chief being our favourite friend of course. A giant, spirited character, his quiet wisdom and energy give us all something to hope for.
He is the anchor in the film.
The rest are starving for attention, affection, something more than what life has dished them. As a result a few of them create conditions, a few embellish, a few of course, are genuinely raving mad though.
None the less, they become our buddies, we all go fishing together, play b ball together, drink and drive together and then of course, feel a united disdain and hatred together for the unbearably cruel, Nurse Ratched.
Undoubtedly one of cinemas magnificent villains.
She taunts, teases and plays with each and every one of them. In the end, as we know, she gets the last word. Sadly, we are left hoping with the films tragic conclusion, if perhaps, she might be left for decades with the unsettling consciousness some of us tend to develop much later in life.
Does she wake up one morning and suddenly realise what she's done? Who she's tormented? And maybe she realises that long after the damage has been done, her victims will be haunted by her cruelty forever.
Well, sometimes, the most painful revenge is for one to be cursed with an eternal guilty conscious.
We can only hope!
Friday, 27 August 2010
Thursday, 26 August 2010
A great part of who i am today, is no doubt a result of the film's profound influence and effect on modern culture. The wisdom, philosophy, music, style, rhythm and flow of the film felt like everything and nothing I've seen. Definitely everything I've heard before, it's astonishing to me to consider that these songs were new at the time, imagine that!?!?!? It's one of the few times i can recall being so moved by the marriage of film and music.
Steppin Wolf, Dylan, Hendrix, The Byrds. But more to the point, it's about the songs, the feeling.
Then there's Peter Fonda, magnificent and humble. Dennis Quaid, adventurous and eager. Jack Nicholson, just perfect, always perfect.
It's the ideal film really.
A moment in time captured beautifully, some of it on 35mm, some 16mm, the LSD scene (one of my new all time favourite scenes) was apparently a visual accident, a result of leaked film.
unattainable American dream, all before our very eyes.
69 was a lucky year for receiving this film.
Thursday, 12 August 2010
Tuesday, 10 August 2010
What could possibly be said about this film that hasn't already?
Who else could possibly contribute to the canon of film wisdom already dedicated to this masterpiece?
Not I really.
So, instead of a careful and painfully detailed synopsis of On the Waterfront, i'll just tell you what I thought......
It's fucking astounding cinema.
If every film were a zodiac sign, this would surely be a Taurus.
Strong, stubborn, proud, bursting with good intention.
Often questioning ones own moral and intellectual character.
If this film were a car it would be a hard working Ford Pick-up, rusted but valuable.
You think I'm being flippant with this, but trust me I'm not. I often identify art in terms of a relative comparison.
Brando dances on film, his spirit, his expression, his voice.
He moves on film like no one I've witnessed, perhaps touches of James Dean and Paul Newman et al, but they all express that same NYC school of brutal realism.
But where Dean possesses an underlying sadness, Brando seems angry, which makes him just that bit more intense than the rest of them and perhaps it's what lies underneath that hints at that aura. An undeniable nonchalance that's brooding and incredibly attractive.
And then there's that dialogue, ya know, the line within that monologue towards the end:
"You don't understand. I coulda had class. I coulda been a contender. I coulda been somebody, instead of a bum, which is what I am, let's face it. It was you, Charley."
You've heard it a million times before, seen it worshipped at award ceremonies for decades, sat through a tonne of poorly impersonations. But to finally see it within the context of the film, to watch him react to his brother Charlie's sly admission of lowly character is something special.
When you watch a film like On the Waterfront, you have to feel very grateful.
Grateful that you are privy to view such artistic beauty within the confines of your own home.
Grateful that at that particular point in film culture someone with enough balls and savvy wrote a script that challenged certain ideals of the time and then you have to be grateful knowing that a team of only the most perfect human beings capable of expressing that sentiment were around at that very moment to contribute to what essentially becomes one of the greatest films of our time.
I am indeed more than grateful to have seen it!