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After the Waterfall (2010)
Sad but moving
I haven't written a review on this site in quite some time, but after reading the only existing user review on this title to date, I felt some balance was in order.
The previous reviewer suggests the film is largely about the central character's wife cheating on him, but nothing could be further from the truth. After his daughter goes missing the film follows John through the stages of grief as he struggles to cope with a life he doesn't recognise. His wife cheating and the subsequent break-up of their marriage is just one piece of a much bigger picture. Antony Starr is fantastic in the central role. He has a great ability to express emotion subtly yet powerfully and this fits perfectly into the quiet nature of the film. In the end, the film is a story of hope - that no matter what happens to you life goes on and if you just hang in there for long enough that time, while it may not completely heal, will give you some distance with which you can start to rebuild.
Bee Season (2005)
Surprised this is not rated higher...
I can't understand why so many people have given this film such a bad wrap. Well, I guess it's no action flick or thriller, but it is one of the most complex, layered, beautiful, thought-provoking films I have seen in a long time. I am an aspiring writer, and if I ever write something that comes even close to representing an interesting analysis of life as this film does then I will consider myself a success. It was also visually absolutely stunning and whilst there were, for me, no single outstanding performances I thought all the actors did a wonderful job.
If you like head films that challenge, question and rip back the layers, then ignore the lowish rating and give this film a go.
Garden State (2004)
Thank God for Independent Films Like This
I loved this film. There are so many different themes in it - romance, comedy, introspection, nature vs nurture, friendship, 'pick the rosebuds while ye may' - yet it does not come across as overly complicated. It definitely has a lot to offer those who like to watch cinema which makes them think, yet no-brainers can also enjoy it on a lighter level. It's certainly not high action or particularly fast moving, but if you like witty, funny, clever films then I can't recommend this highly enough.
SPOILERS HERE AFTER The scene where Sam tugs on her ear after running from the flaming arrows made me laugh so much I cried, and I was still laughing about it hours later. The morning after scene waking up to see the guy dressed in Knights Armour was another one which left me sore in the stomach with laughter. Then the touching scenes with his father and with Sam at the airport were so beautiful, and who hasn't felt at some point that they just want to scream into a great abyss?? I have bought the DVD and highly recommend watching the film at some point with Zach and Natalie's commentary playing. Not only is their conversation highly entertaining, but Zach shares a multitude of information about incidents in his life where the ideas came from for certain scenes as well as the usual 'how we made it' info.
In My Father's Den (2004)
Have just watched this film and am in awe. It did start a little slowly, but the gradual building of intensity just helped the film get it's clutches on me. Several other comments talk about bleakness. Whilst acknowledging this aspect and the grim subject matter, I feel the beauty of the developing relationship between Paul and Celia is so touching and the scenery/photography is so wonderful, that for me, this lifted and gave balance to the overall feel of the film. The 'mystery' part of the storyline adds complexity and depth, yet is more about how it serves to develop the characters and their relationship to one another. Completely compelling and a must for anyone interested in powerful, interesting films rather than blockbuster cheese. In a similar vein to the Scottish film I watched recently called 'Wilbur wants to kill himself' which I also enjoyed but this one is even better.
Before Sunset (2004)
Intelligent, captivating, fantastic
I only saw Before Sunrise this year, and was thrilled when I found out a sequel had been made. I have since bought both films on DVD and watched them both several times.
The dialog in Sunset is captivating and the actors performances are captivating. I have liked Ethan Hawke in other films, but watching him in Sunrise and how he has developed in Sunset has made me a fan for life (and what fantastic eyes!!) Every gesture and every expression that Ethan and Julie make is just perfect, which is what makes seeing this film over and over again so worthwhile. The fact that Ethan and Julie were so stunning at what they do has inspired me to get off my proverbial and get on with what is important to me.
I know this film will be one of the most worn out in my DVD collection. If you have an intelligent mind and are a bit of a romantic, you'd be an absolute fool to miss it.