A suicidally disillusioned liberal politician puts a contract out on himself and takes the opportunity to be bluntly honest with his voters by affecting the rhythms and speech of hip-hop music and culture.
This movie tells the true story of John Reed, a radical American journalist around the time of World War I. He soon meets Louise Bryant, a respectable married woman, who dumps her husband for Reed and becomes an important feminist and radical in her own right. After involvement with labor and political disputes in the US, they go to Russia in time for the October Revolution in 1917, when the Communists siezed power. Inspired, they return to the US, hoping to lead a similar revolution. A particularly fascinating aspect of the movie is the inclusion of interviews with "witnesses", the real-life surviving participants in the events of the movie. Written by
Warren Beatty took time out to explain to the extras what the film was about. After a lecture on the rights of the working man during filming in Spain, the extras took the message to heart and refused to return to work, saying that they felt exploited. Beatty, appreciating the irony, increased their wages. See more »
When Louise first comes to New York and finds John's apartment (during the time of WWI), some of the apartment windows behind her have air conditioning units. See more »
Was that in 1913 or 17? I can't remember now. Uh, I'm, uh, beginning to forget all the people that I used to know, see?
Do I remember Louise Bryant? Why, of course, I couldn't forget her if I tried.
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As the credits roll, additional interviews with the 'witnesses' play. See more »
I am old enough to have lived through (probably) three different Americas. These are radically different worlds. It isn't just the mood, styles or state of the economy; its the adoption of a whole cosmology. Religions change under our feet. Family, love, belonging. These things are malleable yet largely beyond our control and we forget what "things were like." Memory always is constructed in terms of the present world.
So projects like this are necessary. We cannot know who we are unless we remind ourselves who we were.
The ordinary fold here is a romance, folded into grand political actions. Here they are a bit more cerebral than usual, but never getting past the notion of simple justice.
The more unusual and complex fold is that we see a story based on real events and people. Interspersed with that story are interviews of people who were personally involved in the story. These are remarkable, the way they are captured and the way they are edited to overlap with and annotate the story. But much more engaging is that these are enticing people, many with minds and phases that invite us into their faces made warmer and more open by Beatty's camera. I compare this to the "Up" serious and the contrast is astonishing. True, here we want to be informed about the lives of others, and the "Up" goals pretend that the people randomly selected decades ago are remotely worth knowing.
But these folks are. We want more, simply based on their implicit invitation, and we carry ourselves into the narrative more forcefully, sort of like the characters do. This is folding doing its job and doing it well. They remember. I remember, and therefore am.
Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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