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Razorback is a story of a young orphan who lives with his grandmother. The movie takes place after the death of his parents (not explained), where we see that the boy has retreated into himself and refuses to talk. What ensues is a story of how the boy comes out of his shell. A throwback to the after school special that was so popular in the eighties, Razorback is awash with all the ingredients that made the genre so popular with the Star Wars/Indiana Jones generation in the eighties: dreams of a misunderstood protagonist, threat of fantastic danger, mysterious old man who holds the key to happiness, and final victory of sorts when the protagonist is able to overcome his fears and stand up for what he believes is right.
One of the most memorable and successful Canadian television commercials
all time is one for the general hardware store Canadian Tire dating back
the 1970's, whereby a boy from a poor farming family dreams of acquiring a
shiny new bike, and after praying and hoping that he will one day get it,
receives it as a gift from his father - his greatest gift ever. Dodd and
Greenspan export that Canadian sentiment to "Razorback", their AFI thesis
film. A great story, it's marked by a standout performance by Austin
as Avery, but more importantly, a feeling of Spielberg and Capra.
The film misses a couple of beats in its setup (one wishes that there would be more of a buildup of the lore surrounding Kevin McCarthy's curmudgeon barber character, through script and visuals), but overall is a sound script. Greenspan knows that the picture will live or die with Stout's character, and nicely uses the camera to bring him and his conflicts to life. And the film moves a bit towards a melodramatic tone at the end at the end, but you know, who cares? It's just what the audience wants at that point, and will finish the film feeling as though they've gotten something that they've wanted as well.
Now I've seen some good movies in my days, but this one takes the cake. Watch it and you'll no doubt know why it should be number 1 in the top 250. What a blinder. By the look of the title I thought it might have been one of those shockers, but it soon changed my life after watching it.
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