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The Fighter (2010)
A skilfully fluid piece of film-making
The Fighter is a skilfully fluid film, responding to a broad storyline by nimbly adapting soundtrack, dialogue, pace and cinematography throughout.
Coupled with a realism that lends itself to laughing, shouting, gasping and shaking ones head in all the right places, this makes it a very clever piece of film-making.
Whilst obviously being a movie about two boxers, it is in equal parts an intense brotherly-relationship drama, a social commentary on crack addiction, a light-hearted comedy... each part reaching out to a potential segments of the audience.
Predictable although suspenseful, the story leans on strong acting and dialogue to satisfy. From the opening moments, Bale is utterly convincing as the eccentric fallen-from-grace half of the duo.
Amy Adams plays a difficult role, although 'adorably encouraging' slipped into 'insensitively irritating' in a couple of places.
Unfortunately, Wahlberg's character is less developed and less challenging, accounting for a functional but uninspiring performance.
An energetic trad-rock soundtrack neatly signposting changes in fortune and pace makes up for some disappointingly unbelievable fight scenes, which although well shot and choreographed have definitely had the Hollywood 'hero treatment'.
Overall, worth a watch for Bale's performance and a great soundtrack alone - with lots of other bonuses for the ride.
Lost in Translation (2003)
A Pot Pourri
The talented Sofia Coppola received four nominations this year, winning the much-deserved award for "Writing (Original Screenplay)." I find this ironic as the film's unconventional style involves what seems like at least 100 'cutaway' scenes and very few scenes with dialogue. But then that is the film's beauty - that Murray and Johansson's chemistry (excuse the cliché) radiates through their acting and the well-directed timing of their few deliveries, leaving viewers on an emotional high throughout the movie.
The film's many cutaways consist primarily of shots of Tokyo which Sofia's crew translated (under her unique direction) from still photos she took whilst touring the city. These shots can only be described as a 'pot pourri' with their rich variety of camera techniques and colourful (sometimes unusual) subject matter. I began watching the film in a confused awe until I felt I could understand the style of the movie. Experiencing this visual-tornado in the mind alone is worth watching the film for in my opinion. As well as the treat to the eyes and heart, the film's medley from around the world was a treat for the ears, begging to be played at sky-scraping volumes.
If Sofia's entry into film industry was purely nepotism, it is clear from her work that she herself has the talent as both a writer and a director to become successful in it. All that remains is the torturous wait until Sofia finds or creates another work of visual poetry.