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Dark Blood (2012)
Incomplete but the hints of greatness are there...
George Sluizer's salvaged 1993 desert thriller Dark Blood is an uneasy but captivating watch. More than anything its a tantalising final glimpse into the talent of star River Phoenix, surly one of the most promising actors the world has ever seen.
Rivers tragic and sudden death in the winter of 93 halted production and left the film missing many of its most crucial and inmate scenes. To overcome this director Sluizer can be heard reading the script amongst a mixture of stills and short clips. This method, whilst effective, is quite jarring and ultimately strange mainly due to Sluizers heavily accented, matter of fact voice which clash with the very intimate words and actions he is trying to get across.
However we do get long periods where the film plays uninterrupted, its in these moments we get a sense of what a great movie this may have been. At times a classic Hollywood thriller and others a disturbing art house flick.
Pryce and Judy Davis are pretty much note perfect as the bickering Hollywood couple. Pryce plays his character so well I would not be surprised if the role was written with him in mind.
Its no secret that Judy Davis was a very difficult actress to work with not only for the director but also the actors. River in particular was targeted with many friends reporting he would call them in tears due to her hostile treatment towards him. Such was his misery that he personally asked Sluizer to delay the most intimate scenes between them till the last days of shooting (they were never completed). It is to both actors immense credit that this difficult working relationship never comes across on screen, the scenes between them burn with desire and feeling.
Its impossible to talk about this film without really talking about River, even as you are watching the film, the tragedy that was to come is always there, playing on your mind. At only 23 River Phoenix was an Oscar nominated actor of incredible talent, grace and beauty. With the character of "Boy" he was able to display a side of him we had never seen before. He is terrifying, disturbing and dangerous but even in the throes of this madness that trademark sensitivity of Rivers shines through. He was a very special and incredibly gifted actor, and this film like all his prior performances have done before it, bear tribute to that.
The best adaptation imaginable with an intoxicating, Oscar-worthy performance from Rooney Mara
Chilling, haunting and relentlessly thrilling, director David Fincher has created the definitive film adaptation of Larssons best seller whilst at the same time improving on the source material. A brilliant performance from Rooney Mara only elevates the film to greater heights
Ill cut to the chase: this is everything fans of the books could have hoped for, its miles better than the already good Swedish film, its more faithful to the novel, in some places it actually improves on the source material.
With "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo" David Fincher has put his trademark darkness to fantastic use. Whether its sweeping shots of freezing, snow covered Sweden or wonderfully eerie interiors Fincher creates an unsettling atmosphere that is unrelenting and technically perfect. With Fincher i've learnt to expect a beautifully shot film and this is no exception, within this film are some of his greatest images. Regarding the disturbing nature of some scenes, Fincher is wise enough to show them in all their horror but doesn't stop to linger or exploit.
The performances are perfect all round, Its clear Fincher and the casting production went to great lengths to pick not only great actors but those who embody the very essence of their characters. Of note in the supporting characters are Yorick van Wageningen who plays the sadistic Bjurman with unsettling believability and the always great Christopher plummer who is note-perfect as the desperate, loney grandfather Henrik .- As one part of our central duo Daniel Craig puts in his finest performance, normally cast as the tough hero Craig is more subdued here, he has Blomkvist easy charm down to a T but also captures the weak, submissive aspect of his character. - Lisbeth Salander is a character unlike anything fiction has ever seen .broken,pierced, clade in leather with short black hair and a body so slight the wind could break her, she is horribly victimised but refuses to be one. To sum it up she is one of the most interesting and difficult characters an actress could ever play. I could honestly write a whole review on the brilliance of Rooney Mara's performance, she is the very essence of Lisbeth as if the character just walked off the page. Mara commands every scene with a mixture of silent burning rage and a deep rooted venerability. Her eyes are the heart of the film, her reactions are the reason myself and the others around me laughed, gasped and even cried. The character requires an actress who can internalize her emotions yet at the same time convay a wide range of feelings. Mara does this such perfect skill, every glance is charged with deep feeling as if you're looking directly into her soul. A brave performance, Mara bares all in the nude scenes and goes to frankly horribly dark places in the now informous scenes of sexual violence. Watching Rooney Mara is witnessing the birth of a star, this is the best performance of the year and if the Oscars fail to reconzie her i will lose all hope in their judgment.
The score by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross is perfect, eerie and unsettling. It is as good as their Oscar winning score last year if not better, its more understated and does what every score should do....improves the scenes not overpower them.
This is by and large a perfect adaptation, my main issue lay with one singe sequence. There is a shot that seems to be there solely for the purpose of showing off, it serves no real purpose within the story.
The most touching scenes of the film come from the characters themselves, this is a character driven story and none are more powerful than Lisbeth and Mikeal themselves. Fincher makes their relationship the focus and it pays off, they are the heart of the books and Fincher rightfully recognises this.
Proving that sometimes "american" adaptations can actually be for the better this is a film nobody should miss...its everything the novel is, plus some. More than anything i was impressed by the humour that is added through-out, this film will make you laugh, it will break your heart and it will make you want to take a shower.
Red State (2011)
An uneven, somewhat messy film redeemed by fantastic performances across the board..
Firstly let me say "RedState" is not the horror film its billed as, it has some great horror elements but its more like a thriller or even a satire....in fact its pretty much impossible to place, as if Smith chose a bunch of different genres and mixed them up...producing a very interesting but messy film.
Whats it about?
The plot is simple, we follow a group of horny boys (Braun,Gallner and Angarano,) on a mission to get laid by an older women (Leo). On arrival at her home they are drugged and wake up in the midst of a deadly church service where the Pastor (Parks) is hell bent on murdering them for their sins..
The good: I'll start at the best and work my way down, despite it's flaws there is a lot to praise this film on.
The acting is FANTASTIC, i mean across the board the performances feel real and raw. I'd go as far to say that this is one of the best acted films I've seen in years....drama students should watch this film just to better their skills... the performances really are THAT good. The rave reviews about MICHAEL PARKS are spot on, he plays the crazed cooper with subtle intensely, its a terrifying performance.
As the doomed teens all three actors are superb, they take one-dimensional, unlikable characters and turn them into real, empathetic beings. When these boys are terrified you really feel it, their performances are so authentic. Of the three the standout is undoubtedly KYLE GALLNER, this rising actor dominates the screen, when he is pleading for his life you believe him and more importantly you feel for him, this is solely down to Kyles performance as his character is essentially a total asshole. As a actor In both his terror and anger Gallner is perfect.
Lastly I must mention KERRY BISHE, she is phenomenal as the desperate pastors daughter adding so much depth to her thinly drawn character, her scenes of desperation prove to be some of best scenes in the film.
This a stylishly directed picture, Smith gets close up on his actors for fantastic effect. Stand- out scenes involve a camera tracking a victims face as he runs for his life and another in which the camera stays inside the cage where a victim is being held. Smith creates a claustrophobic feeling that really works for the film.
From what i gather Smith never intended to make this film at all character driven, the people who populate this movie serve only one purpose and no background is given to any of them. With such fantastic actors its a shame you are given no reason to care or despise any of them. Yes you feel bad for the teen victims but only because they are being hurt, in essence all three of the teen characters are unlikeable and to thinly drawn out. This film would have been so much better if we had SOME development on the victims and the villains. It would have been so interesting to look at why the Pastor was so crazed, or how the church ways effected the young children....I even sensed some odd sexual tension between the pastors daughter and one of the victims Jarod, even if i'm imagining it, that simple subplot would have added so much to the film. These are PAPER-THIN characters performed by great actors, imagine what these actors could have done with more to work with.
Now we come to one of my biggest issues with the film, its too uneven. Smith (who is also wrote the film) seems not to know what he wants. It starts off as a typical and effective horror, then merges into an odd comedy, then a action shoot out and finally a satire....Its too all-over-the-place to be fully involving. Also some issues i had included: way too much exposition (Smith should know you need to SHOW your audience not TELL) and Smiths choice to show us a flash back to something that happened literally less than 3 minutes ago....
Final line: This is a brilliantly performed movie with bucket loads of atmosphere, its tense and there are some truly terrifying scenes....with a little more focus and character development this could have been a real gem, as it stands its just a very well acted missed opportunity.
A brilliant mix of horror and comedy....so much better than you would think.
When I sat down to watch "Tormented" i thought i was in for a film so bad and low budget i would laugh for 5 minutes before swiftly turning it off. Imagine my surprise when i became absorbed in a surprisingly funny, stylish and well-acted horror.
plot: The film begins at the funeral of Darren Mullet(Calvin Dean), a bullied boy who hanged himself. Also attending the funeral is head girl and "good girl" Justine (Tuppence Middleton). Alpha male and total asshole Bradley(Alex Pettyfer) his bitch of a girlfriend Tasha (April Pearson) and the charming and sweet Alexis (Dimitri Leonidas). Also included are Tasha's slutty, bitchy friends Sophie (Georgia King), Khalillah (Larissa Wilson) and the gangs dumb "henchman" Marcus (Tom Hopper). As Alexis takes a shine to the pretty Justine the group begins receiving texts from the not-so-dead Darren Mullet who is hell bent on taking brutal revenge on his "tormentors".
Whilst the plot sounds like your everyday slasher full of attractive bitches getting just what they deserve its actually a bit more than that. Its a great blend of humour and horror with some of the deaths being wonderfully funny and others downright horrible. It's that mix of horror/comedy, the fact "Tormented" knows when to not take its self seriously that really makes it work. Another refreshing aspect is actually character development. In so many of these teen horrors the lead girl and/or boy are so morally perfect. Here our lead girl can be a bit of a bitch, she ditches her friends, she has sex with the popular boy. And there are clear hints that our lead boy Alexis is far from the perfect boyfriend he seems. These character issues actually make our leads more real, they feel like two real teenagers and we learn to care for them. In fact the relationship between Alexis and Justine is a real high point in the film, feeling real and providing the film with some great drama (and a very beautifully shot romantic sex scene). Their relationship is actually one of the most believable I've seen in a horror.
Script: The script is clearly aimed at teenagers and whilst at times i felt the writers were trying to be too "hip" (for example an indie boy adding Blud and "you get me" to his sentences just felt out of place). Some of the best/funniest dialog comes from Tasha who is really one of the biggest bitches I've seen on screen. The scenes between Alexis and Justine are also very well scripted and very touching.
Acting: Pettyfer makes a great bully, proving he is more than just looks even if his crying needs a lot more work. Pearson was OK in skins and she is again only OK here.... well she is wonderful at being a bitch but when it comes to her scenes of terror she fails at really going for it.
The actors who really impress are Dimitri Leonidas as Alexis and Tuppence Middleton as Justine. Leonidas is perfect through out, adding more charm and likability to Alexis whilst also excelling in scenes of terror or strong emotion. Middleton (in her first acting role) is wonderful and really makes a strong impression, like Leonidas she hits all the emotions perfectly. In Addition both these actors have great chemistry with each other. Olly Alexander deserves a mention for his sensitive proytal of geeky, terrified Jason. Im not saying this is award winning acting but there is enough promise and honest talent to make these characters feel real.
Negatives: The actual ghost Mullet is anything but scary, maybe this was done on purpose but if it was meant to be scary is was not. Everyone is a bit stereotyped the goths, geeks, sluts etc but in a film that is meant to be a little tongue and cheek this is not a real problem.
This is a film very much aimed at teenagers/young adults which may be a negative for some.
postives: well acted, well filmed, good/realistic characters, perfect soundtrack. Through provoking scenes dealing with bulling and a clever (if a litttle cliché) ending.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
The best in the series, this is a darker, more complex and mature film BUT not for everyone and undoubtedly flawed
Twilight,Twilight,Twilight.. who would have guessed this story of vampires, werwolf's and teen love would become such a phenomenon. My theatre was packed with giggling girls sighing and gasping every time Jacob appeared topless, clapping at every kiss, every brooding glance between Edward and Bella. I for one am not one of the those girls, i don't buy into this whole twilight mania....i watch this series simply out of curiosity, I'm yet to be gripped, I'm yet to "understand" or really "get it" but Twilight does have a certain charm and this latest entry is closest I've gotten to "getting it". I was entertained, I was moved (in certain scenes) and i was thrilled.....certain times i was also bored, let down and cringing. It's a mixed bag with this one but overall i left impressed: it seems everyone stepped up their game.
Im gonna start with The Actors simply because this is main aspect that for me was weak/sub-par in the first 2: The good news? Everyone has improved The bad news?: It's still often not enough
Main Leads: Kristen Stewart: I've never had any major issues with Stewarts performance it's more her character that annoys me. Here Stewart does a passable job, it's nothing we have not seen before from her and at times i felt she could have pushed herself further or even shown a bit more emotion...much like Pattison her performance is saved by actual, deep chemistry with her "true-love" Edward...at least it looks like she wants him.
Robert Pattinson: For ONCE he was tolerable. He was less wooden and stiff, there were a few moments where Pattinson showed at least some emotion and believability. However his performance is still dull,wooden and devoid of any real intensity...A tolerable, so-so performance helped by strong chemistry with Stewart.
Taylor Lautner: Of the three leads only Lautner has any kind of charm, he is the only one to seem natural and show any kind of emotional conflict. Saying that it's still not a "good" performance....Lautner hits the emotions well enough: desire,regret,anger,desperation but he never really goes for it, he never pushes himself to a level where i can say "ok this kid is a good actor". The best performance of the leads Lautner has acting potential for sure but at the moment its obvious his chest is taking centre stage.
The best acting/performance: Hands down goes to Jackson Rathbone as "Jasper", he steals every scene he appears in, bringing an intensity which most of the other actors lack...for me he is one of those "i cant look away" actors..he dominates the screen. Xavier Samuel also deserves a mention as Riley....even though he is only a minor (yet vital) player i put him in the same bracket as Rathbone, there is something going on there that makes you want to keep watching.
The positives: This film is darker, the tone is more menacing and the romance works better because of that. Because the film chooses to play down the romance somewhat and up the action and violence it makes for a more balanced, mature movie. The love triangle is actually pretty entertaining and at times dramatic and even intense. The cheesy,mushy horrible lines/dialogue of the Book are still there but less so than the previous films which is a massive blessing in my mind (i can only take so much cheese). Scenes with Jacob and Bella prove to be the most interesting and natural. There were some funny scenes, ill admit i did laugh...i left impressed that a twilight film could actually be funny in a good way. Some of the romance scenes really worked (Bella and Jacobs scene on the cliff top for example, moments during the "proposal" with Edward/Bella) Background on the rest of the Cullen family was maybe the highlight for me, very interesting
The negatives: The score was a big let down, usually the only really impressive thing about twilight is it's choice of music but here it just felt lazy. The usual CRINGE moments, Bella and Edward have some very cringe-Worthy romantic exchanges....i blame the book for this, the film cant help being faithful and it literally lifts these lines from the book's pages. During the "action chase" moments the director went over-bored with the shaky cam making it very hard to follow what was happening. The final battle could have been more epic and Bella's final scene with Jacob should have lasted longer. At times it dragged on and ill be honest 2 hours seemed to drag on and on
This film and indeed this series is not the epic, deep romance it claims or trys so hard to be, this is no "titanic" or "gone with the wind".....here is a film of pure entertainment and it is enjoyable...the love triangle is fun to watch, the romance is at times touching, the action is at times very thrilling. This is not a great film or even that good of a movie But its a great way to waste away a dull evening or a rainy day. Aside from the frustrating fact its PAINFULLY obvious Bella should be with the only half decent character in the film: Jacob....
This is a flawed, forgettable yet enjoyable film...MUCH better than the previous two and a more improved film in nearly all aspects,
I would say give it a chance you may like it...just don't expect anything great.
An utterly rubbish film with only decent performances able to slightly redeem it.
This film comes across like a bad version of 2009's "A Haunting In Connecticut". if you've seen that you pretty much know the plot: Innocent family move into a mortuary/house only to be plagued by demons and whatnot.
Mortuary fails to be scary in any way, all the cliché "jump" scares fall flat, the music attempts to create a creepy atmosphere but totally fails. The story is predicable, the script is dull, the special effects are horrible and overused.
The only decent thing in this film is the acting, in fact its really only Dan Byrd's performance. His performance manages to create some sort of sympathy for his character and its obvious the kid has some sort of potential.
Not even a likable performance from Byrd makes this watchable, check him out in "the hills have eyes" a much better film in all areas.
All in all: STAY AWAY THIS FILM IS AWFUL.
The Notebook (2004)
Impressive acting cannot save this horribly cliché, cheesy and predicable film.
Firstly let me say i'm a lover of romantic films (Titanic is one of my favorites) and when i go into a romantic film i expect cheesy lines and clichés...but i just could not "get" this film, i found it laughably cheesy...roll your eyes, "i cant believe they just said that" cheesy.
The film begins with an old couple and through a story telling session we begin to learn of the romance between rich, beautiful Allie (McAdams) and the poorer, handsome Noah (Gosling).
The main problem i had with this pairing was how unlikely the whole thing seemed, Noah meets Allie and without even a sentence uttered between them, in only minutes of meeting... he threatens to kill himself if she does not go out with him, there he is hanging off a fair ground ride, putting himself in danger all for a girl he only met literally 2 minutes ago....REALLY? it just felt too unrealistic for a film obviously trying for a realistic romance.
Mcadams and Gosling have strong chemistry, they are very talented actors and i was impressed with both of them..but something about their romance just did not work for me, good acting can only take you so far...i never felt connected to these characters, i never felt involved but i don't for one minute blame this on the actors.
Second MAJOR issue: The old couple storyline, not only is it MASSIVELY predicable meaning the so called "omg" twist as to who this old couple is becomes just another eye roller...but its horribly cliché, cheesy and badly acted....i often think i might have enjoyed this film had it only focused on the young allie/noah story (at least the acting was top-notch). these old couple scenes are filled with one cringe-worthy line after another.
The ending was also another massive fail, it tried to be sweet/romantic but came of as predicable and corny...it almost felt like the ending to one of those made for TV movies.
All in all despite very worthy acting from its leads this film was just TOO cheesy for me to take
My advice: go watch Titanic, it has the same rich girl/poor boy concept thats MUCH more believable, it has an old lady flashback storyline but again thats done so much better...its just an overall more romantic film....and the cheesy lines work.
One of the greatest films of all time- A dazzling romantic epic
Its been 13 years since James Cameron award winning epic hit the theatres and took the world by storm. Even after all these years Titanic is just as impressive, this is truly a film that will never lose its power, easily on par with the classic epic "Gone With The Wind" and in my personal opinion it may even be better.
The romance between the beautiful upper class Rose (winslet) and the poor,charming Jack (dicaprio) is truly one of the most beautiful and touching ever put to screen. Theirs is a romance so passionate, trusting and ultimately tragic is hard not to be moved. Rose and Jack also happen to be one of the greatest and most memorable couples in cinema history.
A massive part of making this couple so memorable its the wonderful performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. Winslet is captivating as the spirited Rose, you really feel her inner torment at her restricted life, her overbearing mother and controlling husband-to-be Cal. Dicaprio lights up the screen with his charm, easily one of the best actors of his generation he gives another strong, highly natural performance as the free spirited jack. As a character Jack is also incredibly likable, the ideal man in all respects, its very easy to see why Rose could fall so head over heels for this handsome artist. Winslet and Dicaprio also have extraordinary chemistry making their performances even better as they play perfectly off one another.
Supporting cast also do a great job, Kathy Bates gives a great warmth and sense of humour to Molly Brown, Billy Zane is brilliant as Cal, providing just enough to make him the perfect villain but there is a sense of humanity there to. Frances Fisher playing Rose's cold and snobbish mother Ruth is perfect in everyway.
Simply put James Cameron knows how to direct, he has a knack for creating these thrilling, visual masterpieces that rival anything we have ever seen (Titanic,Avatar). Titanic is an epic through and through, the sets are incredible and the cgi is still highly impressive (in fact it is miles better than 99% of todays cgi). You actually feel you are on the Titanic yourself such is the care and attention to detail within this film. The last act which involves the sinking of the ship is possibly some of the most thrilling pieces of cinema ever captured. This is Hollywood at its best.
Camerons writing skills are less impressive, this is far from a perfect, mind blowing script but it is a good one nonetheless. There are some wonderful exchanges between Jack and Rose as they begin their love affair and thanks to a mixture of talented actors and sweet dialogue it all works wonderfully. My only, very minor issue with the dialogue would be the overuse of "jack" and "rose"...for example i believe Rose utters the word "jack" 78 times, Cameron seems to forget that we don't actually use peoples names 24/7....however this is just a very minor fault and really does nothing to spoil the film what-so-ever. There are some cheesy lines (as would be expected in a romance) but they work thanks to the actors delivering them, they are uttered with such passion,heartbreak,joy that they end up sounding natural and in fact totally in place.
The score by James Horner is breaktaking, a soundtrack of epic proportions to say the least. Horner succeeds in creating a score that is larger than life and at the same time highly unconventional. He knows when to be soft and subtle which is hard to find in most soundtracks today. Arguably some of his best work this score only furthers this films breaktaking execution.
Despite minor script flaws and some small historical inaccuracies Titanic is still in my mind a perfect film. Such is the level of care put into this film, such is the level of talent from everyone to the stunt men, actors,set designers etc that any flaw is soon forgotten or even better not even noticed.
This film is a touching,beautiful romance, its an epic thriller, its a period piece and its an action film....this film has everything any audience member could ever want and it strikes a perfect balance between them.
One of the greatest films of the 20th Century Titanic is an epic like no other.
The Basketball Diaries (1995)
A must see, if only for Dicaprio's powerful, intense and truly haunting performance
At just 19 years of age Leonardo Dicaprio gives undoubtedly one of the best performances i have ever seen, no matter how the overall film turned out (which was rather good) this film merits a watch just for this incredible piece of acting. "The Basketball Diaries" based on Jim Caroll's autobiographical novel tells the harrowing tale of a young teen Jim (Dicaprio) and his transition from star basketball player to desperate heroin addict. Here is a film so raw and wrenching that it makes for very hard viewing, showing with unflinching realism the effects such a drug will have and indeed the lengths it will push it's users.
How Dicaprio was not awarded an Oscar for his performance here is truly a mystery. Very rarely does an actor so young give such a devastating portrayal. Dicaprio is so believable, his acting so natural it gets to a point where it's hard to believe he was not an actual heroin addict.
In two particularly well acted scenes Dicaprio's desperation becomes almost too hard to bear. The first involves a "withdrawal" sequence in which he pleas for a hit, moaning ("It hurts, I just want a taste!'') over and over as he sobs and screams. Never have i seen an actor radiate so much intense desperation. The second involves another desperate but equally as brilliant acted scene. Here he is forced to beg his own mother for money. Moving from tearful, frantic pleas to fits of rage and finally endless deep sobbing, Dicaprio creates such a sense of agony its impossible not to be shocked at this incredible display of talent.
The others actors do a credible job and help the film flow: the music is fitting, the script is good and at times even profound. My only issue with this film was that it felt a bit too preachy.....to in your face with its anti drug message, however staying that it sure achieves it, i doubt anyone would pick up heroin after watching this.
An unsettling, disturbing "junkie" film with a mind-blowing performance from Dicaprio 8/10
The Pacific (2010)
This is a brutal, epic, gripping and Incredibly acted series that shows the true horror war brings
"The Pacific" is Tom Hanks and Steven Spielberg's epic 200 million dollar miniseries from the creators of the brilliant 2001 series "Band Of Brothers'. Much like with Band Of Brothers, The Pacific gives us an unflinching look at the horrors of war, not just the physical but the mental horrors these men must face. As an audience you are pulled through this experience, watching in horror as limbs are torn from bodies and men are burned and mutilated. In a way even more distressing is watching the emotional scars and effects this has on our main characters. This is not a perfect series and does suffer from some major flaws but overall it's an extremely harrowing experience but one that is needed in an age where war is often glorified, this series does anything but that.
Narrative and overall story: The Pacific is based primarily on two memoirs of U.S. Marines, With the Old Breed: At Peleliu and Okinawa by Eugene Sledge and Helmet for My Pillow by Robert Leckie. The miniseries follows both these marines Sledge (played by joe mazzello) and Leckie (James Badge Dale) there is also the addition of marine John Basilone (Jon Seda) but he is a lesser focus. Now unlike Band of Brothers we follow these characters separately as they are part of different divisions, the first few episodes follow Leckie and his experiences, the latter on Sledge. In a way this is both an interesting way of narration but also maybe the biggest flaw of the series.
This spilt narration gives us two very separate journeys which in a way bonds us closer to the characters. The downfall is that Leckie's story is just simply not as interesting as Sledges, from the moment Sledge is introduced to us i felt an instant sympathy and connection with him, here is this shy, awkward eighteen year old desperately longing to fight in the war but unable to do so thanks to a heart mummer, of course his determination gets the best of him and enlists. The character and his overall story is simply miles more compelling than Leckie's thats what makes the first three or four episodes somewhat lackluster. When the sole focus is on Sledge this series reaches its incredible potential and becomes something truly amazing, Sledge and his journey is really the heart and soul of this series.
Acting: With such a depressing and intense subject matter first class acting was expected and the pacific delivers. Every single cast member gives a great performance, its gripping and believable acting at its best. The stars are undoubtedly Joe Mazzello who plays Sledge and Rami Malek who plays Corporal Merriell Shelton or "Snafu", a highly intriguing character who forms a close friendship with Sledge. Both give Emmy worthy performances and in Malek's case i would say Oscar worthy. These are two very complex and incredible performances. Mazzello plays our lead which such an intense and subtle power: his character goes from a naive and passive teenager to hardened killing machine full of rage it is an incredible character arc and Mazzello plays it to perfection. As the series comes to a close we really see what Mazzello can do: Sledge is beginning to lose himself, he has become ruthless and in one single pivotal scene he regains his humanity, his compassion and his redemption. Its a truly powerful scene and one in which Mazzello does not utter one word, his face says everything and its heartbreaking. In fact that is Mazzello main strong point, his ability to convey much more than what is going on just by his eyes and face, there is so much complex emotion behind his eyes it makes for a fascinating watch. Rami Malek gives the most impressive performance of the series playing "Snafu". His character is incredibly creepy and odd, obviously numbed by the horrors of the war, but there is something there that makes the audience warm to him. Malek completely becomes the role, every mannerism, twitch, blink of the eye is perfectly done. lines such as "I like to watch the new guys sweat." are said with such odd intensity its actually mind blowing. I will call this performance perfect which is a very rare thing indeed, if only Malek could win an Oscar because this performance truly deserves the highest acclaim. Malek and Mozzello also have fantastic chemistry, playing off each other perfectly helping to only further this touching friendship.
Direction: remember the opening sequence of "Saving Private Ryan"? well imagine that times 20. I would say this is the most realistic portrayal of what an actual battle must have felt like. The battle scenes are simply epic and wonderfully directed, even if you hate everything else anyone can see the direction is incredible within this series.
Overall: the major flaw of this series if the first 4 episodes they simply don't have the emotional impact of the rest, in fact they border on dull. However as soon as Sledge and Snafu become our main focus this series becomes a true epic. This series will take you on a haunting experience, you will be horrified, you will be moved, you will laugh, you will cry. As long as you stick with it through the first few episodes you will not regret it.