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6 reviews in total 
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0 out of 2 people found the following review useful:
Wonderful - but not violent enough!, 8 January 2003

tmwest from S.Paulo stated "this film is so violent, it makes Tarantino look like Walt Disney". I just cannot agree. RESERVOIR DOGS (especially of Tatantino's films) was seen as ultra-violent. I believe that this is because 'hard-men' screamed in agony when they were hurt. This made a dramatic emotional impact. The violence in CITY OF GOD is seen by some as "banal". Yes! My concern is that the violence didn't hurt enough. Only the scene where the Runts were punished really depicted the true pain (IMHO).

*I wish that Knockout Ned had been the central player with Lil Dice/Ze rather than Rocket. His degeneration felt for me as the crystallisation of the tragedy of life in the favelas.

*I usually like hand held camera but for me as a foreign viewer it created a problem when coupled with the mass of dialogue and narration: I didn't get to SEE as much of the movie as I would have liked to.

12 out of 23 people found the following review useful:
"like a bad tv movie", 19 March 2002

"like a bad tv movie" Thanks to MCMucus, Kalamazoo. You summed it up in 5 words. I could only add that a pompous score tries to tell you that a wonderful drama is unfolding in front of you. It's not. It's hard to find anything of value in this film.

3 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
Who is Carol and why is she in the film?, 25 September 2001

This movie is very powerful and it has haunted me since I watched it. Initially I thought it was a very good film - now I'm starting to think that it's a fine film.

I spent far too long during the film questioning Tim Roth's motives for various directorial decisions. The more I think about it each concern I'm more reassured. For example, initially I was infuriated that we did not see the bath scene so that we knew the truth. I felt manipulated about something that you just can't toy with. But soon after I saw that the truth did have to take a while to unfold.

Also, I was concerned about Jessie being topless so often. OK, the burning incident makes a powerful point and I guess that we are also forced to examine Tom's sexual development, but I felt like a voyeur (is that the point?). Overall, I don't buy the argument that the casual family nudity states that there is something 'improper' about the family. This would suggest a reactionary morality that I don't think Roth is part of.

I'm surprise how some question Tom's motivation: is he just jealous. Christ! he's 15 and just learning about life, sex and the horrors within his family. It's positive that Roth does not "clarify" this issue as some wish.

But my main point is: who is CAROL? What is her role in the action? Maybe the novel might explain - but some reviewers say that there are major variations from the original book. I would really like to read other people's take on CAROL. I find this plot item the biggest mystery in the film. I think that as Carol and Jessie are from different generations Jessie knows Carol through Dad. Especially if Carol is the woman in the Polaroid's with Jessie - isn't she?. So I assume that Dad took the pictures of them? Therefore Carol is an accomplice in Jessie's abuse. Carol's home on a council estate suggests Dad's working class roots and that they knew each other from way back. Is this to give an historical depth to the abuse? I.E. it is not a recent occurrence (as some reviewers suggest) around the birth of the new baby. But you are posed with another uncomfortable and understandable contradiction that Jessie and Carol appear to be warm friends. When they greet each other I felt a warm hope that Carol was a confidant who 'knew' and could help Jessie. Surely Tom's 'treat' is part of a cover-up job?

Other points:- I disagree that it was wrong to put Tom at the centre of the action. Surely societies' thinking on child abuse is still only adolescent?

Some have stated that as we don't warm to the characters it's hard to feel "unconditional sympathy" for them. Please join the human race!

I agree so much with James Berardinelli when he stated "even when the sex is ostensibly consensual, it is rape". I think that you have to recognise a whole system of rape that Dad has created leading up to the scene in the bunker.

Some worry that Dad is presented as a nice guy (if "bluff"); others that he is "vocally abusive" (IMDB plot outline). Surely Dad's character is the central point of the film - that abusers are not scary monsters from a proletarian underworld that has little to do with society generally. I was stunned how Dad tenderly kisses, strokes and tells Jessie he loves her after raping her.

I find it really jarring that people on this board talk about the subject as "incest" (which includes a range of behaviour), "sexual desire", "a sexual relationship". This film is about sexual abuse! But worse: phil6875 says that in the book "is not really a story about child abuse, the father is not a child molester and certainly not a rapist" - as Jessie sort to seduce him. Phil thinks that (in the book) Jessie is the "monster". I am utterly appalled that this comment has not been challenged. It's still monstrous abuse! I find beni hill's satirical comments here less offensive.

1 out of 5 people found the following review useful:
Basic Talent? Demi-abled?, 30 January 2001

This movie is worth seeing once.

The suspense is well crafted. The story unfolds in flashbacks which work effectively. The score is stylish, eerie and possibly the best feature of the film. A number of optical effects greatly enhance the movie. The script is reasonable.

Willis hams it up but shows some talent for acting; Keitel does OK (I usually think that he's supreme). Glenne Headly indeed, steals the show with a good performance.

Demi Moore? "Excellent"? "Awesome"? My God - she's barely mediocre. It's a crime that someone with such a basic talent is paid such fortunes.

Positive but flawed, 29 January 2001

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Loser Richard is sentenced to community service and becomes a visitor for Jane, a young woman who in the last stages of Motor Neurone Disease. Potential spoiler: Richard and Jane develop a friendship that is tested when HBC asks that KB assist her in her plan to lose her virginity. I was pleased that this movie attempted (in the main) to deal seriously with the issue of disability and sexuality. I think the overall impression was that we should not think of those who use wheelchairs as mentally challenged or not sensual.

It bugged me that an intelligent and web-literate woman like Jane had not researched her enterprise better or even acted on it independently. This damaged the positive images by making her more helpless.

Also, the cynical feel-good ending left me cold. I was annoyed that Richard's life became the primary cause for concern - but maybe that was the key flaw in the whole movie. I wasn't really concerned about his 'redemption'. The character of Jane (and HBC's performance) were the highlights.

Happy to discuss.

Downtime (1997)
4 out of 6 people found the following review useful:
This film stinks - but who is to blame?, 10 January 2001

This movie fascinated me for reasons other reviewers have mentioned. How on earth was such a camel created? DownTime was funded independently and mainly by (UK TV's) Channel 4 who are developing a fine tradition in backing wonderful films. Ken Loach meets Towering Inferno? Well you may not agree with Ken Loach's politics (I do) but he has a coherent world view. "Social comment"? What social comment? Poor caretakers are to blame? Just to locate a movie in a working class area of NEWCASTLE (not Liverpool!) means nothing. In such settings, unless writers suggest hope or an alternative then inferred conclusions are likely to be reactionary: the poor are to blame for their own misery, working-class youth are demons who must be crushed (as Jack Straw agrees). The suggestion that Susan can do well for herself by dating middle-class Rob is repulsive. I personally thought Susan Lynch acted better than Paul McGann - but who cares? I thought McCann stunk. OK he got dealt a bad hand: the script is so poor. However, I do not put this down to his character being a "ditz" - so what! This is when ACTING is called for. The weird thing is that the script occasionally suggests that the writer might have come into contact with humans. That's what is so perplexing about this film: the occasional suggestion that something better could have been created. I can only explain this movie as a cowardly retreat in face of criticism from the philistine right-wing on what films are funded. Happy to discuss ...