Ok, so it’s been an obscene amount of time since I posted my proposal for this blog - I got caught up with freelancing and job-hunting, but I’ll try to make amends. My thoughts on films I now saw over a month ago are understandably hazy, so I’ll just write a short synopsis of my feelings about The Reader, Watchmen and Marley and Me. These aren’t intended to be full reviews; they’re not about in depth research and witty alliteration, but my gut reaction to a film, put into words as best I can. So here goes:
This film really is all about Kate Winslet: Kate’s boobs, Kate’s impressive bottom, Kate’s German accent etc. etc. And in my opinion she deserves her Oscar for this adaptation of a relationship between a former S.S. guard (Winslet as Hanna) and a 15 year old boy (David Kross and Ralph Fiennes as Michael), and the repercussions their liaison has on his life. Without revealing any spoilers, I challenge anyone not to get drawn into their story, feel sympathy for Michael as the dark past of his first love is revealed, and feel sympathy for Hanna as her life is wrenched from her - whether fairly or not, you can decide for yourself. The cast as a whole is spot on, and Daldry directs with compassion and intelligence. I love a film that I think about and debate the ins and outs of for hours, and The Reader did just that for me. It’s moving and thoughtful and tinged with melancholy throughout, definitely worth seeing, but not if you’re after a pick me up.
I had nothing invested in this film as I’ve never read a comic, let alone a whole graphic novel, which in this case is probably for the best. Like anyone else with a passing interest in film I got caught up in the hype, and found myself reading every available column inch dedicated to the film people had declared an “impossibility”. Unfortunately though, I found it disappointing, not because I found the plot too confusing without prior knowledge of the story, but because it was damn near impossible to care one iota about any of the characters. The Comedian, by far the most charismatic “hero” of the bunch, is killed off in the opening scenes, a real shame as I spent the rest of the film hoping he’d reappear. Past the first 20 minutes, he does not. The rest were self-involved and impossible to empathise with.
The sex scene has to be one of the most cringe-worthy things committed to film – a horrible sexed-up jazz version of Hallelujah plays in the background while 2 characters with no chemistry attempt to get horny in a pod, shame they both seemed more preoccupied with ensuring sure their arse cheeks looked nice and tight. Rorschach (an admirable effort by Jackie Earle Haley) makes watching the whole film just about bearable, but even his gravelly tones get a little grating a couple of hours in.
There’s no doubting Snyder has made a very stylish film, and it’s hard to imagine that the look of the novel could have been captured better, however the film as a whole lacked pace and relatable characters, and sadly, no amount of gore and latex is going to change that. It’s also worth mentioning that the boy’s copy of the novel itself remains unread and gathering dust, read into that what you will.
Marley and Me
Not our usual choice of film, but we were both knackered and fancied something light-hearted, plus I like dogs, so we thought we’d give it a go. I think most reviewers missed the point with this film; it’s not just a tale of a cute yet destructive dog – there aren’t nearly as many set pieces hinging on the hilarious antics of an out of control bundle of fluff as you’d think. Essentially it’s about a young family struggling with everyday problems: child-rearing, job stresses and making a marriage work. It just so happens that they also own destructo-dog Marley, initially part of a baby replacement scam hatched by John Grogan (Owen Wilson). Marley becomes an integral part of the family as the Grogan clan grows - a loyal companion and mess-maker. Aniston and Owen are predictably fitting in their roles as the young homemakers, and of course there are plenty of “awww” moments if puppies are your thing. Just a small warning though: have tissues to hand.