In the 50's, in Louisiana, the smart populist, manipulative and wolf hick Willie Stark is elected governor with the support of the lower social classes. He joins a team composed of his bodyguard and friend Sugar Boy; the journalist from an aristocratic family Jack Burden; the lobbyist Tiny Duffy; and his mistress Sadie Burke, to face the opposition of the upper classes. When the influent Judge Irwin supports a group of politicians in their request of impeachment, Stark assigns Jack to find some dirtiness along the life of Irwin, leading to a tragedy in the end. Written by
Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
The Best film of the year....with or without critic support.
After seeing the trailer for this film roughly two months ago, I was excited to see the entire movie. The only downside seemed to be that it was one of many that were an obvious attempt to get an Oscar out of it. But that's the norm this time of year.
I was later surprised to see so many begin to trash this film left and right. I actually watched the trailer again to be sure I still wanted to see it. It still looked decent to me. Maybe it was because I'd never seen the original. Maybe it actually was a horrible remake. Plus after seeing and hating the much trashed Black Dahlia, I figured I should consider passing on making the same mistake twice.
But no, there I was on the opening day, hoping this wasn't going to be another Dahlia. And it was nowhere near it. It was incredible. The score is outstanding, the much attacked directing was very strong, and Sean Penn gave one of his three best performances he's ever given.
Jude Law as the press writer/associate is very good. But his narration is weak and not needed as often as it's used. Patricia Clarkston is solid, but not anything of great note. I'm actually glad they didn't focus too much on her feelings of scorn towards state hero/villain Willie Stark (Sean Penn). Much better to keep the movie focused on Penn and Law, who surprisingly work well together.
The accents were only hard to take in the first words of (the miscast) James Gandolfini, who plays Tiny (not so tiny) Duffy, a very crooked crook. But his voice grows on you eventually. I think it was more the familiarity with his voice as Tony Soprano (tv character) that threw me off.
And in a scene where Willie attempts to (very poorly) sing a promotional song for himself. That really should have been left on the cutting room floor.
The only overall complaint I would mention is that for once, I'd like to see a Southern movie actually use predominantly Southern actors. Penn, Law, (the not mentioned by me, but very good) Anthony Hopkins, and Clarkston are all great in their roles. But only one of them (Clarkston from Lou.) is Southern. In fact, when you add love interest Kate Winslet into the equation, three of the main six characters are British. That shouldn't be.
But all that aside, this movie far surpasses any other I've seen this year. And actually puts Hollywoodland, which I enjoyed, to shame. Steven Zaillian has made an outstanding film, that is receiving a very unfair treatment in the press.
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