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Dirty Sexy Money (2007)
Inconsistent show that can't make up its mind what it wants to be, but has some good parts.
Started out well, but drifted away into a complete chaos at the end. For example, the characters. Take Nick George. At first he is so opposed to the wealth etc. of the Darlings, then he lets himself be seduced by it. It would be interesting to watch him sink in more and more into this shallow and cruel world.. then emerge out of it with a changed personality and a learned lesson (or not, and that would be a message to the viewers). Instead what happens is that we are first supposed to believe he is following the wrong path, succumbing to all this money, etc., then turns out that actually it's OK, he's a nice guy helping this family and that's it. There is no more drama or character development, it just stops. His marriage with Lisa falls apart, he does exactly what his daddy, who he hated, did to him, but that's all OK! In addition to this completely illogical and incoherent "turn" we find out that in fact he was always in love with Karen and is now glad he separated from Lisa. Why? Why fall in love with this shallow, rich woman who has absolutely nothing in her? Seems like the original Nick shown in the first series would never fall for that kind of person, but no, apparently he always was secretly in love with her. It's hard to believe for us as viewers not only because it's so out of the blue but also because Krauss just can't act this, perhaps because he doesn't understand why his character would do this (all in all I have to say that Krauss was really not the right person to portray supposed complexity of the character Nick). All in all the show starts as one thing, kind of a comment on the life of the rich, supposedly satire, etc. and it's good in that way. But then it loses the focus. The other flaws include complete and unexplained disappearance of Juliet who at first was shown as a very close part of her twin brother Jeremy, who then seems to forget all about her in 3 episodes. Jeremy's character is actually played well and is more or less consistent. So is Lisa's.
Some major things just happen "in passing", like Karen's miscarriage, as if the there was not enough air time to properly play the scene out. Some scenes are just forgotten, like the arrest of Patrick (accusation of murdering his wife) is just forgotten in the next episode. Not to mention the completely crumbled and unsatisfactory ending (not really an ending at all but not a invitation to watch further episodes either, just something in between.) Also there is this theme of Tripp always pressurizing his children and each one of them being secretly unhappy in their own way - Jeremy takes up a job, Juliet takes pills etc) that is also just dropped at some point and the kids seem to be actually fine. Basically the whole thing is very inconsistent. It's well done and not thought through thoroughly.
Cold Mountain (2003)
Where is psychology? Where is the subtelty? Where is originality?..
Isn't anyone tired of all this Hollywood glossiness and soppy melodrama??? This movie almost made me sick with all those "oh-so-Hollywood" overly loud weeping music on the background of the fighting scenes (it is supposed to tell the very stupid viewer of the film how he is supposed to feel about this fighting - but for God's sake, don't make it this obvious!! + the viewer is not that stupid..); with all those cliches (white dove in the church and oh so many others); with its predictability (why, why wasn't Jude Law killed right in the middle of the film?? - it would have perhaps made it a bit more interesting..) etc. The choice of music was terrible - over-dramatic and too loud!!(at the beginning, over the battle scene), just not subtle enough, so grotesquely Hollywood. The whole film prefers to chew things for you, assuming that you are not intelligent or sensitive enough to get the meaning of the scenes WITHOUT all those means. This film perhaps could have been turned into something worth watching, with the given script (even though the script has quite a few holes as well, and the relationship between Ada and Inman is not started off properly and not believable), if it was not for this style of directing. It could have avoided all the glossiness and been a bit more realistic (the sex scene between Kidman and Law, for example - why couldn't they make it simple and naturalistic rather than this pornographic glossy Hollywood style - does that happen in real life??) Where is psychology? Where is the subtelty? Where is originality?.. Nevertheless, the film had also some good things about them, if you turn a blind eye on all the above. It made me think about how in the war relationships between people are so much more intense and rapid; how people who have been through this experience know what really matters in life; how they value so much more their lives and the people around them; and what an unnatural and silly in its cruelty thing is the war. The violence in the film also works well. 5 out of 10.
focus on the main thing and don't get lost in the useless questions, such as "what was in the box???"
Everybody always seems to ask themselves after watching this movie, what is inside the box?? Why was the father absent for so long? What is he? What business was he attending to when taking the boys to an island?? I would like to say that those questions should not be asked as they do not take up the central part of the plot and are really of no importance to the characters' development. Take it as a given: the father has a past and we don't know it. He was absent for 12 years and the boys did not see him (why we don't know, and don't need to either). Concentrate on the characters instead: it is a psychological drama, the emotions and the interactions of the people are central to the film. If the director preferred to leave the factual questions unanswered, there is a reason to it, which is that we know as much as the boys do and why should the viewer be in the priviliged position to know more? This mystery brings us closer to the understanding of the boys' feelings, as well as lets us concentrate not on the detective part of the story, but on the human interactions.