2 January 2009 | alexkolokotronis
"Its not about winning, its about making a statement."
Well I'm not sure if this movie will win anything but it certainly made a statement. Milk is about the first openly gay person, Harvey Milk, to be elected to office in America. Milk does a great job in putting face to the gay rights movement which is sorely needed.
The acting was superb by the cast all around starting at the top with Sean Penn. As the film wore on Sean Penn became Harvey Milk. It was not just a portrayal he gave, it was a complete absorption of the man himself. Penn gave a very smart, witty and inspiring performance which carried the film throughout. Josh Brolin gave a very convincing supporting performance as Dan White who is one of Harvey Milk's colleagues. The depth that Brolin gave to his portrayal raised some questions about who Dan White really is. If in fact he is a good man or a bad man, if he is corrupt or honorable or even if he is straight or homosexual. Brolin once again proves to be one of the most overlooked actors in these past few years. Emile Hirsch always lights up the screen and continues to do so in here. James Franco though was quite a surprise to watch. I usually can't stand to watch Franco in any type of role but he proved that he can take on serious roles. This movie might be the statement Franco needed to make.
The writing and directing was very solid overall allowing a greatly assembled cast to shine in so many aspects and ways. What was done in such a great way was the editing. Specifically the editing of archival footage into the movie. Most of the time I find it a bit distracting or annoying when archival footage is used but in here it was a strength. It was perfectly implemented into the movie giving the feeling that you could take the movie more seriously as a telling of a true story rather than just a movie.
Milk was certainly one of the best of 2008 but we will have to see if it can stand the test of time. It made a pretty nice statement but can it win enough hearts and minds to support the gay rights movement like Harvey Milk would have wanted?