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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Into The Wild

“Once I dug an early grave, to find a better land” – we can hear Eddie Vedder humming ‘Hard Sun’ in the movie Into The Wild. The word that came to my mind while watching it and after watching it was – perfect. I could relate this movie so perfectly with my life. The saddest part is that I can’t be like Christopher McCandles; he became Alexander Supertramp , but me on the other hand will always be ….me, just me. I cried throughout the movie, I connected so well with the movie, with Alex. He was such a good philosopher. “I don’t need a car, I don’t need anything; I don’t need a thing.” How many of us can actually feel that, let alone say it. “Job is a 20th century invention and I want no part in it.” Can we say that? Are we allowed to? Alex did and look where it got him – nowhere, he died in the wilderness of Alaska. This is what people are going to say, people who can’t identify themselves with Alex; not me though. This brilliant student Chris, who got top grades in his college, who even got himself admitted to Harvard Law, what did he do? He gave away almost all of his money to charity, burnt the rest, cut out his plastic money and all of his identification papers and started backpacking through U.S and set out on what he called his ‘great Alaskan adventure’. The movie follows his journey to Alaska, the various odd jobs that he did to keep himself going. But he always burnt down the rest of the savings. His stay in Alaska is heart wrenching, well at least it was for me. Finally he died there, dreaming of his family. He had mistaken a poisonous plant for an edible plant and consumed it in large amounts. I cried my eyes out after watching the movie. I worship Alexander Supertramp. How many of us can be Alexander Supertramp? How many of us can survive what he survived? How many of us can learn the truth about life that he learnt? Not many, I say. I get emotional when I talk about the movie. You see I don’t see it as a movie, I see it as a documentary on a subject called LIFE. I won’t even bother to tell people what an amazing job Emile Hirsch did as Chris McCandles/Alex Supertramp. If I have interested people or maybe even intrigued them a little bit with my writing, please watch the movie, you won’t be the same person after you watch it. That’s a promise.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Precious : Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

The movie Precious is based on the novel Push by Sapphire and I think that Geoffrey Fletcher the scriptwriter did great justice to the novel. It is 1987, and 16 year old obese, illiterate Claireece Precious Jones, played by Gabourey Sidibe lives in a Harlem ghetto with her abusive mother, Mary played by Monique. Precious has been impregnated twice by her father, the physical abuse started when she was only 3. She also faces physical and mental abuses from her unemployed mother. However when the principle of her school discovers of her second pregnancy, she suspends Precious and arranges for her to attend an alternate school. Precious finds a way out of her traumatic daily life by by looking forward to attend Miss Blu Rain’s classes; gradually Miss Rain becomes her mentor. However her patience reaches the last straw when Mary deliberately drops the 3 day old Abdul, Precious’s second child by her father, the first one, a girl named Mongoloid who suffers from Down ’s syndrome. Precious finally fights back, gets her son and flees her home for good. Though life hands her out another devastating news, she is resolved to improve her life for herself and for her children and thus severs all ties with her mother; she plans to complete a GED test. Monique is the best thing in the movie. She tears up the screen and then in a climactic scene with Miss Weiss and Precious, tears our heart. She was worth the Oscar for the best supporting actress category at the 82nd Oscars. There is only one word for her – dynamite. The deglamourised Marih Carey as the social worker Miss Weiss was a revelation. Sidibe as Precious has won much appraisal no doubt but I found her too passive and too unwilling at times. Somehow her expressions and her movements were restrained. Precious is an emotional powerhouse, a triumph of bruising humour and bracing hope that deserves its place among the year’s best films.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

21 Grams

21 grams is directed by Alejandro Gonzalez. The movie interweaves several plot lines, around the consequence of a tragic road accident. Sean Penn plays a critically ill mathematician, Naomi Watts a grief stricken mother and wife and Benicio del Toro a born again Christian ex convict. The movie is presented in a non linear arrangement where the lives of the characters are shown before and after the accident. Each of them has a past, present and a future story which is shown in non linear fragments, which all finally converge at the end of the story. The title 21 grams refers to the small loss of body weight, representing the departure of the soul, immediately following death, which is what Penn’s Paul Rivers soliloquises at the end. Jack Jordan played by del Toro is an ex convict who is caught in a hit and run accident involving Cristina peck’s husband and two girls which result in their death. Paul is critically ill who urgently needs a heart transplant and he is given the heart of Cristina’s husband. It is a complex narrative style and the plot is largely incomprehensible for the first 45 minutes. This unfamiliar and complicated way of telling a story is difficult to grasp immediately and requires a lot of attention on the part of the audience; thus this format is both the film’s blessing and curse. It is not exactly a Saturday night popcorn flick and requires the audience’s active participation. There is strong and raw emotional burden but that makes the movie even better. There is a strong performance by all three of the main cast and no one lets down. Penn and del Tore excellently portrayed the troubled souls but Watts as Cristina Peck brings home the damaged goods: a one time party girl to a wife and a mother whose life is damaged beyond repair enhances her status as a leading lady and she deserved both the nominations for the best supporting actress at the Oscars and at the BAFTA for the best actress category.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Boys Don't Cry

This is no new movie but I saw it a few months back, again thanks to this friend of mine, who gave me the movie. Boys Don’t Cry is based on the life of 21 year old Brandon Teena, who hailed from Lincoln, Nebraska. Well what was so special about Brandon you may ask, Brandon Teena was born Teena Brandon, a girl who ardently wanted to get a sex change operation. During her days as a pre-operative transsexual she pretended to be a ‘he’ by cropping her hair so short that her scalp almost showed which made it even more difficult to realize that this ‘he’ was no real ‘he’. However life at her hometown becomes troublesome when she starts going out with girls, impersonating a guy and gets found out and the townspeople do not take it too kindly. So Teena leaves Lincoln and moves to Falls City where she is immediately smitten by a karaoke singer Lana Tisdel played by Chloe Sevigny. The two start going out and Lana is intrigued by Brandon too as ‘he’ is no man that Lana has ever dated, with so much feelings and tenderness that Lana has never witnessed in any man before. But this little ‘love story’ do not have a happy ending as you will find out once you see the movie; its tough to hold back your tears when you see Hilary Swank as Brandon Teena, helpless and crying when she is at the police station, being interrogated. Hilary Swank was paid a mere 3,000$ which didn’t even cover her insurance. The film drew critical acclaim; it can be described as a sad song about a free spirit who tried to fly a little too close to the flame. Swank was a fresh face and was able to completely fit into the shoes of Brandon. She took her job seriously and paid attention to every minute detail, like the facial expressions and body language. Chloe Sevigny’s role was no easy job either; her acting was heartbreaking and faultless and this role as Lana Tisdel put her on the Hollywood map. Both women won nominations for the best actress in a leading role and best actress in a supporting role respectively for the Oscars and the golden globes alike; Swank went on to win both of them. It was a breakthrough role for both Swank and Sevigny and both delivered a mesmerizing and dexterous performance. The movie was a debut movie for director Kimberly Peirce and even though it was a small budget film, she delivered at her first go at the industry. The last frame of the movie shows that Lana is driving away from Falls City, with tears in her eyes, while in the background we hear Brandon reading out a letter that ‘he’ wrote to Lana. As the car disappears over the horizon, we hear Nina Persson singing The Bluest Eyes In Texas; the song makes it even more enchanting and we realize that we miss that like Lana we miss Brandon and hum along with Persson “The bluest eyes in Texas are haunting me tonight, Like the stars that fill the midnight sky, her memory fills my mind, Where did I go wrong? Did I wait too long? Or can I make it right? ”