Reviews

9 ReviewsOrdered By: Date
7/10
sadly disappointing
7 January 2003
as a fan of the books and a really big movie buff, i was nonetheless disappointed with TTT. maybe because the first one was so excellent, especially the extended version, which unfortunately one can only watch television-size. it seems to me that a pattern in emerging, where you leave all the quiet, but very important, scenes between actors out of the theatrical version, and instead concentrate on the action pieces. but the tenth shot of an uruk-hai bellowing or of women and children looking frightened becomes boring or pathetic pretty soon. and of course there are the story changes: most of them totally unnecessary and not helping the plot at all. i dont mind the scenes between elrond and arwen (although elrond is really painfully miscast) and the conflict of mortality that arwen faces. in fact, those dream-love scenes were a welcome respite from the action pieces. speaking of which, the whole warg-attack was so useless and stupid! it reminded me of star wars, not a good comparison in my mind. and that aragorn drops off the cliff was dramatically ridiculous. not even people who havent read the book will believe that one of the main characters would die like that in the middle of the movie. furthermore it just mirrored gandalfs fall in the first movie, but at the same time belittled that event. i could go on and analyse the whole movie like that, but whats the point? the addition of laborous action pieces seems the main intent, and not staying closer to the book in terms of story-telling. i think its wrong to consider those movies as pure action-flicks that have to cater to teenage boys. after all, the books are very much loved by men and women alike.

so i can only wait for the extended version, where all the really important scenes might have been put back again.... i really love the first movie, but after TTT im sadly pessismistic about part three. the filmmakers left out so many important story-elements, they will never be able to finish the story in any way that resembles tolkiens book!
1 out of 1 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
a disturbing masterpiece
4 November 2002
i can fullheartely recommend this movie! the story is thouroughly engaging and incredibly well written by nina companeez and executed in a swift and dramatic style by michel deville. the french landscape and scenery is beautiful and combined with the touching music by bellini helps to elevate the story into the realm of true tragedy. the two main characters are raphael de lorris, a debauched nobleman, who spends his nights in brothels or chasing and seducing women. his principle is that he only desires a woman as long as he hasnt possessed her and loses interest as soon as the chase is over. his drinking-buddies are his closest friends, and although they wear period costume and ride horses instead of motorcyles, they are conceived as a group of rowdies. raphael, however, is the oldest of them and their leader. hes extremely world-wary and mostly depressed, when sober. his dark mood hasnt yet taken over his young friends who are still very much enjoying their lifestyle. but for raphael it has become a necessity to get drunk all the time because otherwise he cant face his wasted life.

we are introduced to raphaels counterpart, the beautiful and young widow aurore, right at the beginning of the film, when she rushes to a lakeside to view the sunrise. aurore also has a group of young girlfriends, but is again the oldest of them and also the only one who has already been married before. but she soon explains that the marriage was arranged and she has never loved her husband or any other man.

at an official ball aurore and raphael are introduced. contrary to all other women, aurore brushes raphael aside and leaves without really taking notice. he seems impressed and his interest is piqued. he pursues her to church and they spend their first few hours visiting a hospital (her choice) and a wine bar (his choice). aurore soon notices raphaels world-wariness and pities him, which of course isnt the reaction he was hoping for. as a sort of revenge he meets her later at her house and tries to rape her. again, aurore senses the right way to discourage him by telling him that she "wont die" from the rape since shes been married before anyway. its a brillian scene because it shows their opposite way of thinking and the irresistible force that that opposition creates. both still employ their usual tactics, hes the seducer, she is the very religious widow. but as soon as raphael left, aurore finds she is nonetheless aroused by her first encounter with real sexuality and passion.

from then on their parts begin to shift, because aurore realizes that she is indeed in love with raphael and pursues him with energy. he on the other hand maintains his debauchee lifestyle and tries to distance himself, even by humiliating aurore.

still, the whole movie is a womans fantasy insofar as raphael does "the right things" in the end. after shaming aurore at his house, he nonetheless comes after her and takes her home like a real gentleman. he comes after her again in the most moving scene of all, when he even kneels in front of her as if to worship her, since she does indeed become his queen. his declaration of love is the simple fact that he does not sleep with her, since that is his only way of demonstrating her uniqueness. aurore, on the other hand, suffers because shes not only in love but also passionately desires him.

the story is constructed so intelligently that the whole concept of raphael representing night and aurore representing day is pursued with determination and the ending is therefore unhappy and dramatic. its grand, its operatic, its greek tragedy all in one.

memorable scenes in which standard situations between man and woman are suddenly contradicted by unconventional dialogue is further proof that a woman was responsible for the screenplay. neither of the two main forces is simplified and all the clichees are used to present a fresh and daring view. the fact that the movie is a period film set at the beginning of the 19th century helps to keep that strict structure and makes the ending more resonant with well known romantic fates from that time.

The actors are simply great, the casting spot-on. maurice ronet became world famous as the suicidal young poet alain leroy in louis malles film "the fire within` in 1963 and as raphael he perfectly embodies the flamboyant but tired rake. He dominates the screen whenever hes in a scene, as does francoise fabian as the beautiful aurore. Both ronet and fabian are so perfectly cast and look at each other with such longing, one is instantly drawn into their story, moved to tears by their impossible situation, which is lifted almost into mystical heights only to remain true to the story.

This movie is a moving experience in every respect and all the forces of the screenplay, the direction and the actors make it an intelligent masterpiece, which is unfortuantely hardly known or seen anymore.

If you find it somewhere, go and see it! Dont be disturbed by the dated look, the story is as timeless as any good mythology.
13 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
1/10
pretentious crap
30 October 2002
the movie is an exercise in tedious story-telling, and a boring story at that. every second shot seems to be a close-up of mr. williams, with his bleached and thinned hair and the awkward glasses every psychopath needs. the fact that mr. williams character is a lonely and depressed man is made abundantly clear by a series of boring "staged" shots of him sitting alone in an empty room, whether its the cafeteria or his own home.

the picure-book perfect family could have been interesting, but the director and/or screenwriter obviously couldnt decide at which point to show the "real" family situation behind the happy facade. first we see the parents and their son cuddling on the sofa while looking at their pictures of the sons birthday party. the next scene is a tender good-night scene between mother and son where she states that "not everybody is as lucky as we are." however, the very next time we see the family, the parents are having a shouting match over money and personal issues, while the son watches and runs off crying. that scene seems so misplaced and badly directed that from that point onwards the whole family structure is so uninteresting that one couldnt care less what happens to them.

mr. williams actions in the hotel room towards the end of the movie seem furthermore totally unrelated to the trauma he obviously suffered as a child. his idea of punishment projected to an adult couple just doesnt make sense regarding his own past. it is just as incompetent as the whole story. and then there are the photos themselves. i just kept asking myself, if the family consists of three people, who then is always taking those pictures of the three? the same goes for the holiday pictures of the husband. did they hire a personal photographer to come along with them on the holiday so they could get those perfect couple shots on the beach? and the kid of course always considered the importance of complementary colors when shooting his pics: so that a bright blue teddy bear sits next to an orange balloon and that a pair of red rubber boots are seen standing on a very green lawn! all those pictures are so "art-directed" and staged that they in themselves rob the movie of all credibilty.
26 out of 47 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
great entertainment in a relaxed atmosphere
21 August 2002
the movie is a delight. its funny and witty (of course, its oscar wilde). the actors seem very comfortable with the material, especially rupert everett and colin firth. its a joy to see colin firth so relaxed and good-looking and playing the lead again, at long last. (after all, in "bridget jones´s diary" he had to play second fiddle to hugh grant and only came into his own towards the end of that movie.) here, on the other hand, he is definitely a leading character, and he even has a chance to play a caricature of his unique way of being "haughty", which made him so irresistible as mr. darcy in "pride and prejudice"! frances o´connor and reese witherspoon are funny and lovely to look at, although they dont really seem to belong to the period quite as perfectly as helena bonham-carter or andie macdowell did, for example. it seems impossible to make a british movie nowadays without having dame judie dench in it, and here shes doing her usually best in delivering the most poignant quotes on english society. each of her appearances is marked by an "entrance" and all the other actors seem almost overwhelmed with awe at her presence, which also fits the part she plays. its also nice to see dench and firth in quite a different relationship than in "shakespeare in love". a very amusing movie, perhaps a bit staged, obviously, and maybe a little too cute towards the end, but good acting and good cinematography make up for the not altogether convincing historic era. (the music seems far too modern for the period, but is so entertaining and swinging, that its actually the main element that pushes the narrative forward.) all in all it seemed to me like a bunch of british actors had quite a bit of fun on this one, with none of them being overwhelmed by the material. aussie o´connor and american witherspoon are not as comfortable, but still seem to have a good time.
1 out of 3 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
really great fun
8 August 2002
for a non-english viewer, this indian-british comedy is a true delight. the story is teenage-highschool, but dealt with in a much more earnest and embarrassing (in an endearing manner) way than most american counterparts. also, the parents of the two girls have a lot of screentime and are more fleshed out characters than usual. the central story of girl-friendship combined with sport is unusual in itself, but because of it, the film has all the energy and drive of a sports movie, with winning and losing moments. the love triangle is a little weak in my opinion, since both girls´ main interest seems to be the sport. still, its always great to see the hugely talented jonathan rhys meyers appear on the big screen, so its just too bad, its such a small and almost unnecessary role!

i truly enjoyed the film with its youthful energy and hilarious family situations. there is a lot of the "goodness, gracious me" humor in it, but thats always rather a good thing, i find.
0 out of 0 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
Gormenghast (2000– )
10/10
brilliant steerpike in fantastic mad world
17 April 2002
i happened to see the last episode of gormenghast in the middle of the night one day and was instantly intrigued. although i had no idea what was going on i was glued to my seat by the surreal sets and costumes and, above all, by the intense and brilliant acting!

i bought the books and dvd at once and soon realized the difference. the books are beautifully written and have a life of their own that does indeed compare to tolkiens middle earth. but the tv-series is marvelous. i think the whole story is very close to the books and all the actors are amazing.

jonathan rhys meyers as steerpike is the main focus of attention, every time hes onscreen the whole story gets incredibly dynamic and his villain is the most attractive person ive seen in a film in a long time. his characters brilliance, but also suffering, are the main themes of the film, since titus doesnt really seem convincing. most of the other characters are rather one dimensional, but thats intended, since no one wants to change in gormenghast except steerpike. even fuchsia, who is so miserable cant overcome her prejudices in the end.

whats strange in the film is that, given rhys meyers steerpikes attraction and intelligence and force, still everybody is unwilling to accept his qualities. he stays forever the kitchen boy, even when the whole castle couldnt do without him anymore. his despair and ultimate madness are the result of that constant rejection.

the books especially, but also the film, are ultimately a description of a world without love, compassion or warmth. everyone is doomed to remain unhappy within the strict hierarchy and no talents whatsoever will elevate you.

steerpike in the books is primarily a monster and sadistic murderer, whose motive is simply to gain power. why mervyn peake wrote him as the one to propel the whole story forward and at the same time didnt make him into a positive figure, i dont understand. i know its criticising the british monarchy, but thats what makes the books so depressing, in my opinion.

in the film steerpike is the central character, hes extremely good looking and has plenty of emotions, mostly rage and the supressing of rage, (contrary to the books i think, where hes always cold). still the ending is inevitable, because in gormenghasts world no one is allowed to succeed.

the film itself is beautifully shot, the music is great, the sets a little disappointing, but the costumes are truly beautiful. what does outshine most other tv-productions however, is the brilliant acting from the entire cast, but mainly rhys meyers powerful performance.
18 out of 24 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
9/10
the best bond in recent years
24 August 2000
thanks to great actress sophie marceau (and the moving portrait of robert carlyle) this is one of the best bond installments of the last decade. here the villain has an emotional depht, resulting from a traumatic past. this automatically results in 007 also having to deal with deeper emotions himself than in most of his outings. the only drawback is the part of the science-bimbo which only enhances the contrast between an intelligent woman´s part and the traditional one in bond movies.
1 out of 2 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
10/10
day and night can never meet
24 August 2000
a beautifully shot movie, although the 70s lush optics are a little distracting. a great story that is told in a five act structure, much like the opera music by bellini, which accompanies the whole film, would suggest. raphael de lorris is conceived as a rake in the romantic tradition who finds his match in the virtous widow aurore, whose very name means "morning". the idea that day and night are always chasing each other is executed in a visual stunning way helped by intelligent dialogues and great actors.
11 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this
The Journey (1959)
10/10
east and west portrayed symbolically by the two major actors
24 August 2000
a great movie, with a rather unclear political message. it´s shot in a theatrical style, i.c. most of the action takes place inside. mayor surov and diana ashcroft seem equally suspicious of each other. emotions run high since the western tourists and business-people seem unwilling and unable to yield to the eastern-russian charm of the mayor, although he makes every effort to understand their point of view. the two opposite world-views are made pointedly clear, but the movie also shows that human emotions cannot be controlled by politics. its powerfully acted and has a high emotional impact for a 50s movie.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? | Report this