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The Dark Knight (2008)
Excelency in Film Making and Heath Ledger
Let's make this short: what a brilliant piece of art. I would say that the majority of people who went to see this movie was never expecting something like what they got by the end of the projection. It is true that Christopher Nolan is one of the finest film makers of the last decade not having a single stain on his curriculum, but make a masterpiece of a superhero movie, is just an outstanding achievement. Throughout the movie history we have been offered with some superb movies which will be remarkable on their achievements for a long, long time... and we would be talking about films like "The Godfather", "Schindler's List", "On The Waterfront", "The Hustler" amongst so many other, that stood out from the crowd by being a reflection of a fantastic work done by their creators and the actors. And to tell you the truth, and being conscious about the fact that we can't compare "The Dark Night" with "Apocalypse Now" or "Raging Bull", we have to give a standing ovation to Nolan's work. It is classic on some may aspects of its making and at the same time its a very complex and believe work for an action/superhero movie. The cinematography and the musical score are perfect, the script is phenomenal and of course, and we are getting to the core of this review, the cast is fantastic. The actors have not fault anywhere (although I think in Christian Bale's performance we can point some overacting), but Heath Ledger delivers a performance of a lifetime, and it was the performance of his lifetime, unfortunately. This severe disturbed anarchist is miles away from the clown portrayed by Jack Nicholson back in 1989. Everything about Ledger's performance is amazing and a magnificent achievement in acting - The Academy Award was much deserved. Obviously Heath Ledger was no Marlon Brando or Paul Newman, but now we cans top a think that he could have been someone like those two great actors. His role as Ennis del Mar in "Brokeback Mountain" was absolutely fantastic, but his job as the Joker was unbelievable. It was really a shame that this movie couldn't get a nomination for Best Picture... it really was.
Halfway to Blindness
"Blindness" or in its original title "Ensaio Sobre A Cegueira" based on the masterpiece written by the late Portuguese Noble Prize winner Jose Saramago is stucked on its halfway through the grandiosity of the original book. I read the book a couple of years ago, just before the movie premiere and what is most impacting is the rawness that surrounds the story and the cruelty of the human being when pushed to the edge. Well the movie is not raw and the cruelty shown is actually very light (if you compare it to the original book). That is what doesn't make this movie as good as it could potentially be. We all know that if you are adapting a story, one of the best ways to do it is go to the original source and take it from there. I would say that for an English (or any other language) speaker read and fully understand a book written in Portuguese is something complicated and difficult. Wait, here is my point: the director Fernando Meirelles ("The Constant Gardener") is Brazilian and so, a Portuguese speaker. What I want to say is that I was hoping that he could get in a better and easier way the essence of a story that he didn't need to read translated by a third party. I was hoping that he could manage to translate in images what he could read what was written in such a raw way. Well, he decided to do it on a easy way: light, easy and quick. You do not manage to get the true sense of the story, the characters are not as well drawn in the movie and were created with a lack of deepness that we need to sense and feel while watching the movie. Unfortunately this movie is not as compelling as it could have been.
The Million Dollar Hotel (2000)
Wrong In Some Many Ways
When you see a movie and you don't like it you usually have a slight idea about what you disliked.Well, when I finished this one, I had the terrible notion (maybe the first time I ever felt it) that it was a complete waste of time. It is without any doubt the worst movie ever done by Win Wenders and I can point what is the biggest problem of this complete mess: a script written by Bono Vox. The story doesn't make any type of sense, the acting is very poor and the context is just out of context. I realized that I was losing my time when after one hour of movie I had no idea about what was the movie was about. This is a true personal opinion more than a review, but as a movie addicted, this was one of the biggest disappointments I've ever had.
A masterclass in acting
There are lots of things that are not told to us in the beginning or middle of this movie. We do not know who are the characters, where they came from or how they started their relationships. The truth is, we do not need to know that. What we need and by the end of the movie what we want to acknowledge is that this is a movie about love (or different types of love). A movie about grieve and it's most different ways of being expressed. A movie about people and about the way they struggle through their lives to hide what they really are and what or who they really role. This is a movie about loss and pain and also about joy and happiness. In the end, this a movie about being human.
The script is remarkable and it runs away from the clichés and the preconceived ideas you might take while you are walking in the projection room. But even more remarkable are the 3 main characters and the actors who portray them. Cristian Mercado delivers a masterclass in acting. By a comfortable mile, one of the best male acting performances of the year. What is most admirable is the way Mercado can express Miguel's painful grievance: the loss of his lover, the acceptance of what he really his and the loss of his beloved wife and son - there are no hysteric portraits of loss. What you get to see is a outstanding performance focused on the facial and physical expression. Also fantastic the the performance by the Mexican actress Tatiana Astengo.
Could this be one of the front runners for the Best Foreing Language movie of the year? No doubt about it.