Reviews written by registered user
|23 reviews in total|
The ultimate moral dilemma is to survive or not survive. In this case survival means aiding the Nazis in world domination (through counterfeiting British and US currency to aid their war effort) . If you are Jew with talent and being kept alive for the latter reason, this is indeed the ultimate moral dilemma: die or survive with guilt in the extreme. I commend the Germans for a trilogy of films lately dealing with the nadir of human existence : the rise of the Third Reich and the Holocaust. Sophie Schull, Der Untergang and now Die Falscher all take deep and serious looks at huge questions. The acting and directing in this film are superb, the cinematography first rate - what a relief to have serious film instead of the usual Hollywood pap.
I think most viewers missed the point of this movie: his obsession with his son's fiancé stemmed from a triangle that had brewed for years within his family, he felt his wife had thrown him over for his son and his obsession with the sons' fiancé was a revenge for this slight. it was brilliantly brought out in some of the later scenes with his wife. Along with the Gambler, this is one of the better studies of the psychology of destruction of the self and of others. It has uniformly good acting and the wonderful British capacity to capture the seething emotions underneath slight gestures. I doubt this constitutes a spoiler, this is hardly a suspense film- it has destruction written all over it from the first encounter.
The first hour of this painful miasma can best be described as failed Altman light. The lives of "everyday people" written in the worst and most clichéd way. Mexican waiters who speak English to each other, dumb Black-Latino racial banter, ho hum sexual pecadillos. You've seen it all before and better written (try Crash or Casino) Emilio Estevez should find a day job and stick to it because this is a bomb. The first hour of the film has nothing to do with Bobby and you know the stories are not going to develop because of the coming assassination. Stereotypes abound and the film relies on sixties music to try and create a sixties atmosphere that feels inauthentic, like Estevez was somewhere else when the first acid trip went down. A major disappointment given the respect I have for Bobby Kennedy and a major disservice to his memory.
Tedious pace and mediocre writing mar what was potentially an interesting idea- to replay the possible motives for the death of George Reeves. A film that aspired to be Roshomon would up feeling like Groundhog Day- oh no, were going to see George die yet again. Although Ben Afleck does a good job portraying George Reeves and Diane Lane is sexy as always, the plot just gets mired repeatedly. These are aspirations to capture the feel of past LA as in LA Confidential but its' forced here - trying to be witty with repartee that just falls flat. Anachronisms: no one said "offed " in 1962- that came later. Boring, lame writing and a plot that jumps all over the time map.
Kids these days are not familiar with the problem we had in the fifties. We heard singers but to see them was rare- Little Richard didn't make it onto American Bandstand. So the big thrill of this film then was to actually see Little Richard, Fats Domino , Gene Vincent doing their gigs! the storyline was farcical and little more than a cover for the music but planting the music scenes in the movie was ingenious. Jayne Mansfield was luscious, even doing a caricature of a vamp. What else can one say? The new release DVD captures the wonderful color of the fifties- mauves and pink pastels everywhere. And Eddy Cochrane does his Elvis imitation and showing why Elvis was the King (and Little Richard the Queen) of Rock and Roll. Worth it for the history lesson- 1950's anthropology.
Leonard Cohen, a brilliant poetic composer deserved better than this. The performances of his songs just don't make it, with the exception of Teddy Thompson and the McGarrigle sisters who are good (the McGarrigle sisters are always good). The other performances range from indifferent(Rufus Wainwright) to just plain bad (Nick Cave). The latter seems like some third rate lounge singer looking for a gig in the borscht belt.The performances show no feel for the music. Despite his raspy voice, Leonard has some pacing and timing that these guys just don't get. You would do better to watch his live tour film. Cohen himself is amusing and self deprecating but his music deserved better and poor Leonard has spent so much time in California that everything is OK with him now (maybe it's just true Buddist detachment). He needs to get back to Montreal and to his creative and critical faculties.
Apart from Ed Wood, who was in a league of his own, this may be the worst film ever made. Certainly its' IMDb ratings put in striking distance of the worst ever category. Really bad films are, of course, interesting because they lead you to ask "what were they thinking?" Not the actresses who are, after all, shameless bimbos, but Paul Verhoeven, who based on his track record prior to this file, was a decent director and Joe Esterhasy who was a top ranked writer. How could their judgments have been so bad? And then there are the producers, the money people who, I guess, just assumed that sex would sell, no matter how bad the movie. For me, all the Tits &Ass in the world could not save this mess.
Reese Withspoon is great in the film but Joachim Phoenix is just not believable as Johnny Cash - too squat, and no voice. The thing that sold Johhny to Sam Phillips was the voice. Sam would never have signed someone who sounded like Phoenix- good song or not. So he's no Jamie Foxx "inhabiting " Ray Charles; or even Val Kilmer being Jim Morrison. He's not the worst actor to play a rock star- that dubious award has to go the Garey Busy for his impersonation of Buddy Holly playing Gary Busey. A second problem; by and large we know the stories of these celebrities already, so dramatic structure takes a beating. Did any one not know that Johnny was saved by his amphetamine addiction by June Carter and that they lived happily ever after. A bit more of Mother Maybelle's character would have been welcome as well.
Paul Haggis deserves tons of praise for this gritty Altmanesque masterpiece; truly great writing and insight into tragedy. The film defies the usual ho-hum Hollywood practice of using one dimensional cutouts for characters. In Crash, you may feel you have someone pegged and they they do something that blows your opinion to shreds. The tragedy is usually produced by "perfect storms': conflations of confusions and misunderstandings. The acting is first rate; Matt Dillon is outstanding, Don Cheadle is great as always. I was surprised that a Canadian wrote the story since it has such a dead- on sense of the US inner city street scene. Paul Haggis deserves serious credit for this one.
Hollywood can bring anyone down. Even Wolfgang Petersen. Want evidence? Just watch his brilliant Das Boot, one of the most riveting war movies ever made and then watch this piece of Hollywood junk. Big Battle formula #1 calls for pretty faces, blizzard edits of slashing, no gory injuries (superficial slashes are better), wide angle shots of two huge armies running at each other, protagonists who will fight in the last "meaningful" scene. You've seen it before ad nauseam, here you see it again. Mix in numerous close up of anguished heroines watching the battle and that's about it for this picture. As opposed to Das Boot where the viewer actually comes to care about what is happening, Hollywood Big Battle Formula #1 ensures no more involvement than you would get from your video game. Not a coincidence, that's the audience they had in mind. Too bad the "creative people" in Hollywood are MBA's.
|Page 1 of 3:||  |