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gpdavis74

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Cosmopolis (2012)
5 out of 7 people found the following review useful:
A film better left read, 15 January 2013
7/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

David Cronenberg's adaptation of Don DeLillo's book 'Cosmopolis', is a hard film to wrap your head around; for more reasons that one. DeLillo's heady novel about the vacuous nature of digitized capitalism, it's captains, captors, and the general monetary nihilism that fuels the modern machine, is not a novel fit for film; nor for that matter, people without doctorates is philosophy. Cronenberg did a wonderful job of making a beautiful and rich film, but even geniuses can't fit a square peg into a round hole.

Robert Pattinson cast as Eric Michael Packer, the uber rich captain of the financial world that the story and all it's sporadic characters vibrate around, did an absolutely stellar job, proving once and for all that he's not just a pretty face with fangs. Packer is a hard man to physically embody, particularly in a film that has zero business even being a movie, but Pattinson's acting kept the center of this chaotic brilliance in focus the entire time. The cast in it's entirety is perfectly placed with beautiful performances from all involved, particularly Paul Giamatti as the story's cast out and forgotten man, a performance, that along with Pattinson's, makes the final scene something that resonated in my head for quite some time. So. Why the 7 then, huh?

Well, to be honest, I wanted to give this movie a 5. In keeping close to DeLillo's novel, Cronenberg has given us a visual masterpiece devoid of substantial personal interaction. The staccato brilliance that spews forth from Packer and the random satellites bouncing in and out of his gravitational pull makes the movie's dialogue feel just that; staccato. It's hard to even call the words spoken between characters in this movie, conversation. For the most part the dialogue is just one character waxing philosophical about the nature of capitalism, it's evolutionary march towards doom, or some relational absence between man and his deeds. It makes for incredibly beautiful philosophical brilliance, but there is simply no way to truly fit it into human interaction. So what you're left with is a sequence of events that don't sensibly connect, with characters that interact in only the most physical sense.

The acting, cinematography, art direction, and direction should and could warrant this movie a much higher rating, but the material simply doesn't fit into the medium. I understand why people have rated this movie much higher, just as I understand those that have rated it much lower. In the head and on the eyes, this movie is a warm dip into a deep, deep ocean of beautiful ideas, but in the narrative of human interaction, it's a cold, shallow dive into awkwardness and involuntary muscle spasms. If you're looking for a bit of philosophical sand to put into the 1%'s gas tank, Cosmopolis is the beach to go to; but as a film, it simply doesn't have any substantive cohesion. I can't say I'm any worse for the wear for seeing it, but it feels like maybe it should have been a book on tape; with a nice Rothko in the background.

'Graveyard Love' Elevates the Genre, 29 October 2012
9/10

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

To be honest, with the frame of reference I have regarding the ID channel that the Final Witness series airs on, 'Graveyard Love' would've gotten a 10 out of 10. What Adam Feinstein has done with this 1 hour docu-drama is set a very, very - let's just say that one more time - very high water mark for production quality on the Investigation Discovery channel.

For those of you that aren't familiar with the channel, ID is all about true crime stories told via shows like 48 Hours (on ID), Dateline (on ID), and Deadly Women. It's newest addition, Final Witness, of which 'Graveyard Love' is the first I've seen so far is not a conceptual leap forward in the genre of true crime shows; in fact, it may very well be an identical twin of ID's own series, Stolen Voices, Buried Secrets (SV,BS). But if this is what happens when a talented director takes an existing idea and makes it their own, let's hope they let Feinstein redo all of their shows.

The core conceptual similarities between 'Graveyard Love' and the SV,BS series are their shared, if not identical, storytelling devices. They both use the story's central character (which in the true crime genre is either the victim, the criminal, or the crime itself... in this case the victim) as the narrator in what feels like perhaps a diary reading narration. But that is where the similarities stop. Like hit a brick wall stop. Plenty of people utilize perhaps the same basic techniques to get from point A to point B in directing television, but very few put all those pieces together as well as Feinstein has with 'Graveyard Love'. From directing to cinematography to editing to overall production, this 1 hour true crime docu-drama makes me feel a whole lot less creatively dirty watching this channel.

The story of 'Graveyard Love' is the story of a young-adult New Orleans couple and the self-implosion of their lives in the wake of Katrina. It follows Addie Hall, a bartender in the French Quarter and the 'love of her life' (how could that possibly go wrong) Zack Bowen, an Iraq War veteran. As two young party people in New Orleans their 'party' (see- booze and drugs) lifestyle complicates an already complicated situation. But it's Katrina that both saves and then ultimately dooms the young couple, culminating in events that not many people will feel comfortable with knowing. Of course, if you're on ID, chances are you're sensibilities are much tougher than your ordinary viewers.

What warrants the 9, or 10 if I'm being subjectively honest, is that 'Graveyard Love' completely elevates both the genre, and the channel as a whole, to a much more sophisticated production plane. Feinstein has created genuine drama in the true crime docu-drama realm. 'Graveyard Love', for maybe the first time in my ID viewing history, truly drew me into the dramatization of the events. What is usually an interesting true crime story, smattered with laughable dramatizations and static interviews, becomes a perfectly balanced beautiful whole under Feinstein's direction. He seems to be the first person that took the word drama seriously in the term dramatization. No longer are you just ignoring the horrible production to listen to the incredible events; with Feinstein's addition(s) to the Final Witness series, the dramatizations, the interviews, every part of this production, tells such a moving solid story, that you even forget you're watching true crime at some point.

If you're a fan of the ID channel or any of it's many shows, you'll really be missing a major move forward in the genre if you skip the 3 episodes that Adam Feinstein has created (I've only seen 'Graveyard Love'). This is what this channel desperately needs, high quality production. If it were up to me, or if anyone at the network has any real sense, this guy would be signed on to do the entire series for as long as the series persists. Nothing is out of place in 'Graveyard Love', but more importantly, everything is where it belongs; where it should have been all along. Perfectly crafted.