If you want to see how a 'food programme' (although no Bourdain programme could really be described as such) is transformed in to a war documentary, then you need to watch this. The best journalist is someone who makes you understand what it would be like if you were caught up in the madness, and Bourdain excels at that. His empathy with his entourage is deeply affecting, and his 'patriotism' is for me at least, totally excusable, for reasons that are blindingly obvious.
The prism through which Bourdain views and describes the world is unique yet totally accessible. Food is after all what nourishes us all, and the effect is to make everything seem entirely real.
I have never laughed so much, then felt so guilty. BT is a genius.
Every moment is pure gold, every second to be treasured.
Like the best detective stories ever written, the puzzle is the least of the viewer's concerns. But rather BT submerges us in a world with which we are probably totally unfamiliar, and yet we never doubt it for a second.
The cast is peerless, with Noiret rewarding the viewer with his most perfectly nuanced/sympathetic/anti- hero imaginable. No one has ever been denied an Oscar so cruelly.
I have promised myself I will share this with everyone who is important to me, woe betide me if I fail.
Perhaps most people think of King Kong or Lord of the Rings when they see Peter Jackson's name, but I suspect the movie that says most about his sensibilities is 'Heavenly Creatures'. Like 'Lovely Bones' this movie depicts the tragedy that befalls two young girls, but sadly Lovely Bones lacks the incredible depth in his earlier movie. This is not the fault of the actors, as they are all excellent, despite the Stanley Tucci character seeming such a cliché. Surely no child would spend any time alone with someone who appeared so incredibly slimly, their innate aversion would stop them instantly. In fact the abduction scene is incredibly difficult to watch, even though there is no violence at all. Apparently the source novel has an extended rape/murder scene, but this was entirely absent from the movie which was an excellent decision. However Peter Jackson didn't shy away from depicting the heavenly after-world which unfortunately reminded me of Aronofsky's The Fountain (also starring Rachel Weisz). When Susie Salmon arrives in the after-world and meets Holly, she never asks Holly 'Who are You?' and that made no sense to me. Susie's strange behaviour wasn't the only frustrating aspect of this movie, I think the main problem is the uneven tone; part thriller, part fantasy, with individual scenes working superbly, but even Susie's narration can't immerse the viewer in her world - unlike Kevin Spacey's narration in 'American Beauty'. Perhaps that's because I'm not a 13 year old girl.
One of the most effective aspects of this movie is the way the tension builds inexorably. From the moment you see the children there is an impending sense of doom. The children themselves are both brilliantly cast and wonderfully realistic, by which I mean that their behaviour is easily recognisable as the normal behaviour of manipulative and moody kids, until it spills over to the purely demonic.
The rest of the cast who, apart from Stephen Campbell Moore, I didn't recognise, all portrayed characters who were very believable, even if not entirely sympathetic. After all, how can you sympathise with smug middle class parents discussing homeschooling now that they've sold the business? The adults were in fact wonderfully flawed, matched in spades by Casey, who enters the movie as the least sympathetic character: selfish, self absorbed, and distant in the way that only a sixteen year old can be. However, Casey is arguably the real hero.
The script skillfully presents the tip of the iceberg, suggesting and hinting at the unseen part of the characters' lives, never spelling everything out, but crediting the audience with the wit to work some things out for themselves. The horror cliché of characters doing stupid or unrealistic things that annoy the audience was always avoided, as was the use of the dark. Instead the action takes place against a white Christmas backdrop, which sadly reminded me a little of Reny Harlin's 'snow' bound Die Hard 2, but even so the blood on snow motif was very effective.
Tom Shankland's script, and in particular the dialogue, was very convincing, but he is also a highly visual director. According to my girlfriend the Miss Marple he helmed is quite beautifully photographed, and I really liked the atmosphere and visuals in WAZ. The Children also has the same stunning images, which along with the very powerful soundtrack, conjure a mood of foreboding and dread. If you appreciate horror movies with tension and beauty as well as a succession of wince- inducing set pieces, then this is a film for you.