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American Beauty (1999)
A beautiful film
American Beauty is above all a film about feelings. Lester Burnham is a middle age man whose life has become too boring, everyday he has the same routine, till one day he decides to change. This could be a brief summary of the film. However, there is much more in this film that we can see in its plot. The films mainly deals with the American society, Lester is a product of that society, and how the "American way of life" can degenerate in a culture where life is a monotonous experience. At the same time this film wants to show that it's never too late, that people can change, but above all that life has to be enjoyed. We cannot allow our lives to become an empty experience. In the film there is a contrast between people who believe this, and act according to it, Lester, Ricky and Jane, and the other ones who live according to a society that is imposing rules on them, who live more worried about keeping appearances than about enjoying life. Lester's wife ambition to improve in her job, or Ricky's father obsession with discipline are two examples. The aim of the film is to show the life of these people living in a small street, when we see the first image of the film, we have a huge perspective, then it concentrates on Lester's street, because it could be any other street. The American beauty is all this, the way of life, ordinary people with ordinary jobs living in an ordinary home. However, if you look closer you realize there is more, each of this people is living a different life, the film shows these people to make us know that this is what life is all about, a man himself doesn't make any difference, but at least we can try to be happy in our ordinary lives.
The Usual Suspects (1995)
Suspects, but not guilty
The Usual Suspects is very different from the 99% of the films which are released every year. The difference lays on the fact that this film is an original piece of art. As Citizen Kane or The Godfather, this film proves that entertainment and quality can be combined, in fact, that they should be combined. Because when we are in a cinema watching a film we expect something more than guns shooting or explosions. We want the film to make us think, and even more, to surprise us. Because this is what cinema is all about. Unfortunately most of the films try to make this by means of endings which are very hard to believe, or by making a film visually strong. The Usual Suspects is very far from all that. The script of this film is one of the most brilliant ever written, but even more important, it's original. Because when seeing this film you realize you have never seen something like this before, and probably will never see it again.
The film is a very intelligent and complex thriller with a mixture of characters that confuse you until the end of the film. Still you are all the time asking yourself what is happening. It is only when you see it again that you realize that not only the plot is really good, but that the dialogues are excellent. This film is probably one of the films with more brilliant quotes. At the same time the actors are excellent, especially the five suspects. All this makes The Usual Suspects one of the best and most interesting films ever.
The Company of Wolves (1984)
Dreaming of wolves
The company of wolves is very far from being the typical movie about werewolves, it's very different from films such as An American Werewolf in London or The Howling. This film is full of symbolism, it's a kind of rewriting of Perrault's Little Red Ridding Hood with Freudian elements. The film was directed by Neil Jordan, but in it we can notice the writing of Angela Carter, an author who is mainly interested in rewriting folklore myths from a feminist point of view. If you see this film you will enter a world of magic, of dreams, not only by means of the script, but also by the settings, which are really wonderful. The film itself deals with the end of childhood and the beginning of adolescence, with all its sexual connotations, and the loss of innocence. When we become adults we realize life is not a magic tale. All this is treated from a feminist point of view, the main character is a girl who dreams about several stories with werewolves. Visually the movie is incredible, and it manages to reflect the symbolism of woods, the mixture of light and darkness, the magic creatures which live there during the night and the dangerous inside them especially for the girls who don't follow the path. From my point of view the film is one of the best dealing with the myth of werewolves, mainly because the film is a metaphor of life, of the human specie, all of us have an animal inside.
Some movies are best remembered
When we go to the cinema we always expect something new, a film different from the rest, a movie which in some aspect is original. Unfortunately this doesn't happen very often, but sometimes it happens. This is the case of Memento, yet from the beginning we realize that we are not going to see a usual film. The first image we see after the excellent music of the opening titles by David Julyan is a man with a photograph, we don't know anything about this man or the man on the photograph, still we begin to ask questions. That is one of the main achievements of this film, yet from the beginning you are trapped in a plot which will interest you till the end of the film. With a script as brilliant as The Usual Suspects, Memento is an original film in all the aspects. The story is one of the most original ever written, and visually it's very different from the most of the films, as the action doesn't go from beginning to end. To sum up, Memento is a film that everybody who likes cinema should go to see, most of the people who have seen The Usual Suspects will leave the cinema with a very similar feeling, I want to see this film again. I have no doubt that memento will become a cult movie, and the name of John G. will remain in the consciousness of many viewers as the name of Keyser Soze did.