Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα drama. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα drama. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη, 10 Φεβρουαρίου 2015

Nightcrawler (2014)




Director: Dan Gilroy
Writer: Dan Gilroy
With: Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton 
Duration: 117'
Production: USA

Lou Bloom is unemployed and desperate. On his constant job search he has learned the most efficient way to promote his qualities and to present himself as the perfect candidate for a job. When he will discover the night world of crime journalism, he will realize that this profession was made for him. 

Jake Gyllenhaal is transformed here as the creepy, but with the somehow attractive personality, Lou Bloom, a loner who is determined to succeed no matter the cost. Like a trained predator (Gyllenhaal admits his inspiration for the role was a coyote) Lou observes carefully his opponents, the environment he chooses to act and which can be the most effective way to attack and survive. Entering the world of crime journalism as a cameraman who runs to cover any possible crime in Los Angeles, Lou will discover a fascination he never imagined was possible. Covering car crashes, attacks, accidents and murders he will realize how much good he can be and how many dollars he can earn by just following real crime with his camera. 

Slowly but effectively he will befriend Nina, a tv news journalist, who will be very quickly attracted to his passionate determination and complex personality. She will aid him and support him for his explicit and unique footage from numerous crimes. Lou will prove not to have any ethical boundaries when it comes to his profession and his success. He will ignore any kinds of moral violations and will deliver to Nina the most gruesome and raw crime footage ever. 

Nina is like Lou, they both are attracted by the ugliness of this world and the more terrible the image, the more excited they get. They are both made by the same materials. It is not about the shock or the shame of it, it is purely about how the audience loves crime and they, as the best team ever made, understand it. They know what people crave for and what they will talk about for days. They give people what they want. This way they are both winners; the bigger rates the channel gets, the more dollars they both earn. Simple as that. 

"Nightcrawler" is a dark film which draws a thin line between the hunter, the victim and the viewer. Lou is part of the triangle, so is Nina, with the roles constantly changing. Lou will do anything for his new business and will prove to himself and to others that with constant hard work and perseverance success follows. But where do you stop? Are there any limits? It is creepy, intense and totally instinct based film that will make you hate even more the amoral society we live in and how media bet their existence on people's lowest instincts; the need for blood, sperm and violence. 

This film takes a deep dive into the dark world of crime and media circus that most human eyes are dangerously attracted to. Its narration is smooth and builds up beautifully with Lou in the spotlight. You witness his initial state and his almost immediate adaptation, like a natural predator, to any circumstances in order to survive. Many have named the film a satire on today's media and a social-ethical comment and I couldn't agree more. Its dramatic and satirical tone match perfectly together, especially by the assistance of the music. But the problem lies on its restlessness in trying to cross its own limits. 

Gyllenhaal is fascinating in his character, creepy, extremely intelligent and methodical, but he is too perfect in how to pull through every situation, on how his shocking work is being broadcast, when all of this feels indeed like a joke; how can a person like him never have to deal with the consequences of his actions? Yes, this might be the point, how ethics have diminished and people can do anything for television, but the film takes itself too seriously while it mocks us and the society we are not trying to change. 

I understand its point and the way its done and the fact I hated this character more than anybody the last 6 months says a lot about the power the film had on me. I liked it, but my objections on how it presents its story are stronger. It made me also realize how I  was craving for something even more cruel, more dramatic to happen. Maybe this is what the film solemnly proves; that even though we realize our low moral position we still crave for more blood, more violence, more brutality. 


Παρασκευή, 22 Αυγούστου 2014

Under the Skin (2013)

Director: Jonathan Glazer
Writers: Walter Campbell, Jonathan Glazer, based on the novel by Michel Faber
Stars: Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy McWilliams, Lynsey Taylor Mackay 
Production: UK | USA | Switzerland
Duration: 108 mins

The thing I must begin with about this film is how much I admire the sophisticated way it is being made. From the story which doesn't reveal much - only through images - to the minimalistic score that accompanies the film and from the mesmerizing personality (and performance of Johanson) to the questions it lives unanswered, this  elegy on human behavior is beautifully unique. 

Johanson plays an alien on Earth, observing every move of human race in the cold and distant urban and natural Scottish landscape. The goal of this extraterrestrial, manifesting in human form, is to seduce and lure men to this substitute of a nest where there is nothing else but her and the pray. A room with a glassy surface where the horror that lies underneath gets revealed in slow breathtaking doses. 

From the first shots where she is trying to find her voice - tribute to "2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)" of Stanley Kubrick - and is being created into something more human alike, we are introduced into this cold and distant world. Which is our world through their eyes. The way the aliens see the humans and the way Johanson, the hunter, lures them to the nest, provoke frustrated emotions. Firstly because of how she observes everything, how we walk, how we behave, how we act. Secondly because of the cruelty these aliens share. The insensitivity with which they treat humans, the cold and surgical way they act. It is quite horrifying.   

Johanson is not alone. The bikers are her assistants, the ones who will clean up any mess that might be created via the hunting. The obvious structure in their small society gives the feeling that they work mostly based on their nature. Johanson hunts using her attractive human body and the bikers help her stay on track and clean up any further casualties. No distractions, no remorse, no compassion. 

They work based on their plans and based on their basic needs; to hunt, to feed, to retain their human mask, their human skin. Through Johanson's eyes we observe too. We are looking at how she, the alien, sees our world. How scary it looks, how remote. And she has to bring the food to the nest. She has the hardest task. Through these long observations she absorbs information in how to be polite and flirtatious, how to mingle in this world. She shows amazing strength and patience in order to be even more successful in her hunting. 

But at some point she starts losing her goal. She begins observing herself more than her pray. She is fascinated by what she sees, her body, her perfect skin. The interest she grows for humans is now a little bit personal. She tries to act like them, to be like them, she has a curiosity that goes beyond her mission. She will discover the goodness in these humans, the thing that separates them from other beings, but also the bad side. This self-discovery will prove very important for the course of her life. 

What is being shown here is something more an experience than a film. You need to let yourself forget any kind of expectations and just dive into this peculiar, enigmatic world. There is very little dialog, very few explanations. The colors that are being used to show some feelings are unique. The cold blue and black of the night and the sea to show the distant nature of those aliens, the gray palette accompanied by yellow rays of fear when being among humans in this strange society of theirs and the warm colors when she begins getting to know this species through her own self. 

The director doesn't care for giving answers. He just keeps raising more questions that provoke so many disturbing feelings, a way of storytelling that actually helps you get closer to your own human nature. Your basic emotion palette from curiosity and reassurance travels to something like terror and horror, which leads to some surprise and compassion, only to end in disgust, some relief and an eternal wonder of what you have just experienced. 

'Under the Skin' is the film that will trouble you, maybe even tire you with some very long sequences, but you just need to let go and allow yourself to be overwhelmed by what unfolds in front of you. Let this eerie feeling take you over and maybe you will find the answers you were looking for. Become an observer yourself and you might be able to see "under the skin"




Δευτέρα, 24 Μαρτίου 2014

Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)

Director: Jim Jarmusch
Writer: Jim Jarmusch (screenplay)
With: Tom Hiddleston, Tilda Swinton, Mia Wasikowska, John Hurt
Production: UK, Germany, France, Cyprus, USA
Duration: 123'

And here lies a vampire world so much different than the one we are used to. Two lonely creatures, drifting through the years, through the centuries. They share a deep love for each other and a deep respect for the world they live in. Their names? Adam and Eve, in an ironic reference in religion, one of the few that follow. 

They are in this world for centuries, they have met historic personalities, they have influenced some of them, they are no random souls. They are maybe the last - or the first - of their kind, lost and drifted in a world where everywhere is constant danger. Through many references in literature, science, history, music and film those creatures make a meaning out of themselves. 

It is such a poetically beautiful movie. The harmony that flows within, the deep and unspoken love it vibrates. Those melancholic creatures face the same - almost - problems with any other human being. She is a unique optimist with features 'out of this world'(how beautiful Tilda is) and He is a talented creature, tired of his own self and solitude and blessed with a deep view for the world of music. 

You will not see many characters in this story. Adam and Eve meet with one of their mentors, Marlowe, an old figure (based on the true Christopher Marlowe who is considered to have written some of Shakespeare works according to historian James S. Shapiro) who eventually will drift away. Eve's younger sister, Ava, will disturb their peace by invading in their world, something that is obvious she does once in a century (which is often). Their relationship will be tested as Adam in not a big fan of Ava, while Eve loves and appreciates her little sister, even if she is over the top. 

The truth is that this story doesn't have a beginning or an end. It catches a part of those creatures' lives into this world. They are both a bit retired from life and don't have so much contact with humans as they used to. Adam has given up hope on the human race and his suicidal attitude worries Eve deeply. 

Written and directed by Jim Jarmusch, the talented independent American filmmaker who has a devoted cinephile audience whatever he does, "Only Lovers Left Alive" is a poetic story of two vampires. The melodic, psychedelic music in the scenes and the slow sequences reveal an auteur with artistic depth and a will to create everything ritually. From how they drink blood (never violently taken anymore), how they make love, how they walk and behave, how they see the world. The time he gives to its characters to evolve, to express their true feelings, works soothingly in the course of the story. 

"Only Lovers Left Alive" is a genuine art film that shows us where the true meaning of life is, even if you are immortal. This movie has created a constant discussion about the melancholic nature of every human walking in this world, having already a truthful attitude towards everything it deals with. In its fiction is utterly genuine

Δευτέρα, 24 Φεβρουαρίου 2014

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Direction: Jean-Marc Vallée
Script: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
With: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto
Duration: 117'
Production: USA

In 1985 Dallas, electrician and hustler Ron Woodroof works around the system to help AIDS patients get the medication they need after he is himself diagnosed with the disease.

It is so undeniable obvious how ignorant people were at that time about AIDS, stripping it out from all the shame and terror it represented. Also the pharmaceutical (disgusting) business and their deals with hospitals for new uncertified treatments in order to earn money. They put people's misery and despair into their wallets. And along with that they banned everything else that could destroy their “kingdom” of treatments.

Here comes our hero, who after the shock of being sick, he quits his job and starts a small illegal business of treating HIV patients like himself with importing medicine from Mexico and other countries. His influence is big and his business brains will prove a priceless weapon for himself and everyone around him. Drugs and alcohol didn't manage to get out of his life though and his attitude towards other people keeps being mean and arrogant (and in times hilarious).

He meets Rayon, a drug addict trans who is also sick with HIV. Even though their first encounter is not really ideal, they turned out to be close partners and friends. The truth is that the relationship between Ron and Rayon is not given the proper time to flourish on screen. We follow them around the film quite scared of how Ron would behave towards Rayon, while there is not really a connection somewhere to prove that he actually accepted his partner. We just see the ending phase of this relationship, that they have become good and truthful friends.

While the character of Mathew McConaughey tries so hard to be rude and to build a sort of “protection” wall against other people, he also provokes an embarrassing laughter while his character acts like that. So tough and straight that to our eyes looks a bit ridiculous. But the character was real and his behavior and choices where also real. Many people who were like that existed back then, especially to a city like Dallas. And they probably still exist. So it is not really funny, but mostly depressing and disappointing.

Ron changes though, through all these business and especially through the disease. Even though he has so many bad elements as a person, he is still doing everything his own way only to help himself and other people. I would love to see more about the court procedures and all the decisions taken but here obviously is not about that. Here is about people trying to make amends with their harsh reality and try to decide what to do with the remaining time. Sometimes through McConaughey's performance we feel how his character feels, we understand in a peculiar way all his motives, fears and choices, while we subconsciously console him for the impact his actions have, even though they are racist, dysfunctional and completely irrational.

This movie has many faces, has many parts that wants to narrate. But does it actually manage to say what it wanted to say from the beginning? In an extent yes it does. Clearly the director tried to fit the small romance with Garner into the film unsuccessfully, but also the relationship with Rayon. It seems that everything is about Ron and the movie cannot escape from this. It is not necessarily bad, it is just enough. You see the gradual change into Ron, but you fail to separate his relationships and distinguish their progress through the plot.

Ron doesn't want you to like him. Actually he doesn't really care if you or anyone else likes him. He is very obnoxious but at the same time what he tries, and at the end manages to do, is extraordinary. Attempting to help sick people with effective medicine, attempting to ease their pain and mostly his pain. We do see him go through many sentimental turbulences and making amends at the end with his condition. He is strong and a fighter, a magnificent characteristic that is obvious not until the very end.


Dallas Buyers Club is a bit not sure where to confine itself, whether it is his genre (drama, comedy, political, historical, biography) or its story, but at the end you can see clearly what its purpose was; through Ron's story to talk about a matter that is still a taboo in many places in the world, to show how people can deal with their very own real and harsh problems and how a surprise in your life can turn out both inspirational and truthful for you and the others around you. 


Τρίτη, 18 Ιουνίου 2013

Seeking a friend for the end of the world (2012)

Direction: Lorene Scafaria
Script: Lorene Scafaria
Acting: Steve Carell, Keira Knightley, Melanie Lynskey
Production: USA, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia
Duration: 101 min

Following the global movie production wave that makes countless sci-fi movies a year, “Seeking a friend for the end of the world” deals with something different than the end of the world itself. Human beings need to understand and accept their minimal existence in this universe in order to endure and live their last days on Earth with someone they love and not fight the un - fightable.

The story-line follows a 40 year-old married man, Dodge, who after the announcement of the forthcoming asteroid, named “Matilda” that would cause the not reversing end of the world, he finds himself dumped by his wife, three weeks before the upcoming end.

Suddenly all his life flashes in front of his eyes and he discovers that, since there will be no world to live in, he should follow the true desires of his heart, and that is to find his high school love, his first true love.

This idea though, was given to him by his neighbor, Penny, who crushes into his place and realizes that she was withdrawing his mail. There he will find a love letter from his first love that will give him the extra push to do something he would never do before.

The whole atmosphere is about doing what you would never do before, since everybody on earth is aware of the upcoming end. Drugs, sleeping with anyone you like without protection, not following the law, doing heroine on parties are only particles of the outrageous level of freedom that exists three weeks before the asteroid hits Earth.

The movie is trying to show with brutal honesty, how it would really be if a more plausible scenario of an asteroid hitting Earth would occur, instead of some aliens destroying whole cities. The human brain here is presented as a coin; it only has two sides, either you can be depressed and probably kill yourself or be extremely happy and satisfied with the life you have lived, enjoying your last days with people you love.

The truth is it puts you into that thinking box, making you force yourself to imagine what you would do if all this was really happening. And probably you would find yourself wondering about the answer for hours, when the truth is you have absolutely no clue.

Penny, Dodge’s crazy British neighbor has a story of her own. She lives far away from her home and her parents, she has a dead-end relationship, she smokes weed all day and she feels terribly guilty towards Dodge about withholding the letters he should have received. They will start together an adventurous trip based on Penny’s guilt, only to realize at the end that the only thing they both really want is to have a friend for the end of the world.

The first half of this different sci-fi movie is actually really promising, with jokes and lines, situations that cause your curiosity levels to rise. On the second half though, you notice a terrible slowdown of the narration, like the director didn't really have something else to show you. Like the script ended there and they just improvised on set, without even trying to make it less obvious!

The scenario is dry; there is nothing to hold on, except making normal scenes really long just to fill up your time. There are certain ways in cinematography where you can make a good usage of a long scene and transfer the tension or any other feeling you want to transfer. The way Lorene Scafaria does it here makes you want to jump of your seat and scream: “Move on!”

Destroying completely the feeling that gives on the first half, “Seeking a friend for the end of the World” doesn't really offer something more to your thinking brain, except some hackneyed topics, like the importance of love in life. Didn't you know that already?


The movie could have the chance to stand by itself into the pantheon of sci-fi cinema, just by being so simple and romantic, if only it had a completed script. The scientific explanations that have blown people’s minds before in other movies now mean nothing. So in the emergence of different sci-fi cinema, “Seeking a friend for the end of the World” has lost its position.