Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Brandon/Ben/Never Let Me Go

Brandon - Glad to hear that you are a Bergman fan, as well. I think he's the greatest film artist of all time (but that's just me, who really knows?). The Virgin Spring is probably my third favorite film of his (behind Wild Strawberries and The Seventh Seal). I love it; and love the ending. The shot where Marx von Sydow turns away from the camera on his knees is just brilliant.

Glad you like The Hustler (I LOVE Paul Newman, straight up) and Wages of Fear. I have not seen Quai Des Orfevres, but I will definitely check it out now. Thanks for the recommendation. I’ve only seen a few Clouzot films, but have loved the ones I have seen. He’s fantastic.

The Hidden Fortress is awesome. I have not seen a Kurosawa film I didn’t like. The dude just made flat-out great movies.

The thing about Blow-Up is that I didn’t expect to like it. I had seen L’avventura and L’eclisse, and definitely could not get into them at all. I wouldn’t say that I am an Antonioni fan, but I really like Blow-Up. It has a lot of the detachment of his other films, but also this tremendous oddness. I find it to be unusual in a very interesting way. It intrigues me. But, I can totally understand not digging it or Antonioni for that matter. He’s hard to get into; I would agree.

Also, what do you think your favorite Hitchcock film is? I’ve thought about this for ages and have never decided.

Ben- Thank you very much for welcoming me! Very kind of you. I’m sure I’ll get a lot out of this. I don’t get to discuss movies with people very often, so I’m excited to finally be able to do so.

I don’t know why I only put classics down for my favorite movies. I have many modern movies that are also among my favorites. I guess the classics are the first to pop in my head. I’m going to post my top 10s for the 2000s soon; that’ll give a decent view of recent movies I like.

I saw Catfish and liked it. I thought it was really fascinating. I’m really eager to read your thoughts on it; I haven’t discussed it with anyone, even though I saw it a while back.
Hopefully some good debate initiates about it.

I see that you saw Blue Valentine. I’m dying to see that myself...probably more than any other movie I haven’t seen from last year. Glad to hear you really liked it. I’m sure it’s great.

Also, I saw a mention of your love for The New World. I absolutely love it too. One of my favorites of the last decade, no doubt about it. Just a beautiful, beautiful movie.

Can’t wait to see your top 10 for 2010!

Never Let Me Go

Just watched it this morning with my brother. I was curious to see this because I read some positive things about it, and knew it was based on a novel by Kazuo Ishiguro (he also wrote The Remains of the Day, which is easily one of the best novels of the last 25 years). Also, I knew that Alex Garland wrote the script. A novelist in his own right, he was responsible for the scripts for 28 Days Later and Sunshine, two movies I absolutely love. So, I really wanted to see this.

Initial response: I liked it. I didn’t love it; it definitely has its problems, but there was enough there for me to appreciate it.

Let’s start with the positives. This movie is gorgeous to look at. The cinematography is impeccable. Great use of lighting. It’s great to look at and it feels great. The exterior shots of the school are especially beautiful, and the shots on the beach are just stunning. The music goes well with some of the shots too. There were times when a plaintive violin was played over some exceptional images, and I felt like I could watch and listen all day.

The acting is pretty much solid. Andrew Garfield is probably the stand out one of the bunch. He’s the only actor that seems to be trying to really make his role into a character. He adds some nice nuance. This, plus his work in The Social Network, makes me excited to see him in more films.

The negatives. It moves too quickly. This is probably from trying to fit too much in from the novel, something that commonly happens with adaptations from books. You never get too much time to spend with the characters, or to let scenes unfold slowly. I wouldn’t have minded if the film were longer so that we could have spent more time getting to know the characters and letting them interact more. *SPOILER WARNING: How much greater would our re-introduction to Keira Knightley’s character post-operations be if we had spent more time around her? I think we would have felt her degredation and death much more had she been developed more. SPOILER WARNING OVER.*

The film is working with a very tragic concept (I won’t spoil it for anyone if they don’t know what it’s about). It’s almost achingly sad when you really think about it. I think if the film had moved a little slower we could have felt this tragedy and this sadness more deeply. I felt like I should have been in tears by the end of it, but I wasn’t. I was moved by the final images of it, but not crestfallen. I’m going to mark that down to pacing and character development.

Not to say that it does a horrible job of pacing or character development, but it just doesn’t do enough to thoroughly soak us in its tragic consequences. Some have criticized the film for being too bleak. Give me a break. It’s supposed to be bleak; its dealing with a horrifying premise. It could only have a tragic outcome. I liked the film’s tragedy; I just wanted to spend more time getting there.

With all of this being said, I did like it. I have no idea where it stands in terms of other films from last year though. I’ll have to decide that later. But, for now, I appreciated its beauty, its tragedy, and its interest in love and time. The last lines and shots of the movie are lovely and harrowing. They make me want to read the novel–I’m sure it contains the tragic depth I’m looking for.

I don’t know if anyone else has seen this or even cares about it. If there is one thing you guys will learn about me though, it is that I am at heart a romantic and a HUGE sap. Don’t ever let me convince you otherwise. I’m always looking for a good cry.

1 comment:

  1. I watched Never Let Me Go last night. I agree with you about the length - this movie would have benefited from more. It's a bit puzzling to me that this film hasn't gotten more attention. I'll write about it soon. I've got about 10,000 words to get down for school this week, then I'll work on Film Club. Lots of 2010 for me to review.