Hype, Smoke, Mirrors and Rip off of the Italian Films of the 50's and 60's
I can't believe the reviews of this rip-off of the Italian cinema of the 50's and 60's.
It started with the opening scene of the water being splashed on a floor. I not only found it jarring but interminable. One or two splashes would have sufficed. I lost count after six or seven. I am confused when an "auteur" uses a sledgehammer where delicacy and respect for the intelligence of the viewer could suffice.
The film seems to be being touted as an Oscar contender, primarily for the cinematography. I don't get it.Yes, some of the scenes were staged beautifully and the images were well effected, but there was nothing that I had not seen in the fore mentioned Italian movies. The one scene of Sophia Loren holding her child in the middle of the road in "The Women" totally encapsulated everything this boring movie was trying to say. Fellini and Antonioni did it all first.
Boring does not equate to art. And the film is endlessly boring without the rewards to be found in deep, meaningful stillness.
I have to confess. I walked out of the movie after about 90 minutes and am very sorry that I did not walk out an hour sooner!
I don't understand the high praise for this movie. Yes, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are both charismatic actors and enjoyable to watch, but even they are not able to move the film above average plus. I felt like I was watching a fairly good Woody Allen film that kept getting interrupted by musical numbers. One of my pet peeves with musicals is when the music comes in without any reason other then to have a musical number at that moment. Music in the best of musicals should further the story - not stop it mid stream. I was really disappointed as the hype had led me to expect a truly ground-breaking return to the Hollywood musical. It isn't.
First let me say that this is a powerful, engaging film. Seemingly, however stereotypical, the opening of this movie feels like a stage play exposition. Although moving forward I found myself increasingly involved in the life of, to me, a thoroughly selfish, almost despicable, protagonist. Denzel Washington inhabits his role as one would fit into a perfectly tailored suit. The depth of his character fits him like a glove. The dislike of his "Troy' is palpable. It is Viola Davis' performance that gives us any acceptance, and even a modicum of empathy, for his unrelenting dis- likability. Her 'Rose' is a tour-de-force and one of the most honest performances ever put on film.
I personally see it as less a film about a man coming to grips with prejudice than as a damaged child trying to make sense of a world over which he was unable to reconcile his life. In the greater scheme of things, yes, he had a menial job, but he did have a job. He has a family that he treats as possessions rather than people. When his son accuses him of not wanting him to surpass his father in life, there is a validity to the claim.
The direction, cinematography, music and period feel, with the exception of an uneven opening, proves Washington a masterful film maker. The difficulty in adapting a stage play to the screen is almost overcome with only a few scenes playing like a filmed stage set.
If it were up to me both Denzel and Viola would receive the top 'Best' academy awards with Denzel also receiving a nomination for best director. Unfortunately the stiffness of the script, in my opinion, should keep it from a best film nomination (although it will probably get one). As a side note, it seems silly for Viola Davis to be entered into the competitions in a supporting category. She is the strength of the movie and in too many scenes to even be considered 'supporting.'
I don't understand the raves for the movie. All it did for me was to make me want to see "Close Encounters" again. Acting and production values were stellar (Amy Adams was outstanding and Jeremy Renner gave his usual tight performance) and those are the only good things I can say about it. Too many plot holes to go into without risking the making of spoilers. Just because the script is convoluted and about a very serious subject it does not necessarily mean it is good. Since there are so few truly serious movies that make it financially I hesitated writing this review. For me it adds to that list of movies that were given good reviews simply to show how erudite its critics are. Pretentious does not equate with important or good.
I was really hyped to see this film. Good reviews and Ryan Gosling. I sat for 10 minutes at the end of the film trying to figure out what I missed. I still don't understand the reviews. It was like taking a walk through clear jello. More unnecessary pauses and slow motion for nothing but effect....and a boring, needless, effect at that.
Replace Carey Mulligan with Michelle Williams and you just have an instant replay of Blue Valentine - another huge disappointment!
Critics have been bashing "War Horse" by calling it "The Best Movie of 195_" It begs the question as to whether a good, solid, narrative, beautifully photographed and told has to take a beating because it is not "cutting edge" - whatever that is. To praise "Drive" as good film-making seems to me to be a poseur's posturing.