Archive for January, 2014

Wolf of Wall Street

January 31, 2014

I came out of the cinema thinking that this film was great, having really enjoyed watching it. However upon writing this post I have started to feel less excited by it. Maybe I shouldn’t over analyse it so much but anyway here are my thoughts.

First off I think this is the first Scorsese movie that I’ve enjoyed in a long time, this is him being back on form. Also this is my favorite De Caprio film and probably the best of the partnership between the actor and director.

However the film has it’s problems. Its too long, I can think of 4 scenes that could have been cut as they added nothing to the story, strangely they just popped into my head with not much thought required, a rarity for me.

However the real major problem is that at it’s core the movie had no moral center. Was it an attack on the American Dream? What about all the victims of the Wolf? They are painted as dumb schmucks who should have known better. Ultimately the wolf was breaking the law yet it’s all played as fun with zero repercussions outside his circle. Also the female characters all come off as cyphers and eye candy and not much else. Did his wife really not care about all the drugs they were taking? She must have known about all the whores yet she put up with it, why?

The film takes the Wolf’s point of view whole heartedly with no genuine criticism of it and I find that a flaw. It ends up being a film full of carnality which, don’t get me wrong, was really fun to watch but that’s all it ends up being.

Maybe Scorsese planned it like that. It was a window into just how crazy they were and we as a society let them get away with it. If this is the case then that’s what makes the ending even harder to take. The real life Wolf makes a cameo appearance suggesting an almost endorsement of the behavior in the movie.

American Hustle v 12 years a slave

January 17, 2014

There seems to be a lot of brouhaha about Hustle cleaning up at the globes, especially against a worthier film like 12 years. Having just seen both I’m going to weigh in with my thoughts. Firstly hands down I think 12 Years is a better film. I’ve never warmed to Steve McQueen’s direction but with this movie he out does himself. He knows how to compose each scene beautifully and he gets truly wonderful performances from the cast. Eljifor really deserves to win an Oscar. His quiet understated performance is masterful.

However that’s not to say that Hustle is a bad movie, it’s entertaining and the performances are great though not in a league with 12 Years. The direction though, is not up to par with O’Russell’s previous endeavours and doesn’t come close to touching McQueen. There is a bit too much hair fetish going on (see the film and you’ll understand) and ultimately the whole thing is just a puff piece.

Hustle is a cool kid’s version of what he believes cinema should be. 12 Years just tells a story beautifully and in doing so recreates and defines what film should be.

Travernier

January 17, 2014

I recently saw two excellent movies by Bertrand Travernier. Death Watch and ’round Midnight. I’ll talk more later but check them out if you get a chance
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