Thursday, October 27, 2005
2 of the best films this year
"Good Night and Good Luck" is probably my favorite movie so far this year. It's political message is as important today as in 1953 when the events of the film played out. In fact, watching I was certain that this movie could have been fictional and told in present day (with a different reporter and different political atmosphere) The movie is almost surreal, with silent; dialogs driven close ups and the near hyper-realistic surroundings. Certainly a trend at the time, but also used as a dramatic tool was the constant cigarette smoking, forever creating mysterious clouds in front of the characters.
"A History of Violence" is a film that is at first easy to overlook. The story is extremely simple, but that's all it needs to be. When I first saw it I had a dry opinion of the movie, but as more time passed, and the more I thought about it, the more I loved it. As the title pretty much gives away any "twists" in the movie, I won't try and write my review around a spoiler. The first half of the movie sees Tom Stall (Mortenson) kill two men who are attempting to rob his diner and kill everyone else inside. This attracts media attention and subsequently two thugs who know Tom as someone from Philly named "Joey". At first, Mortenson plays dumb to an extremely convincing end. So convincing in fact, that I had my doubts that the title was accurate and that the lead character did not in fact have a "History of Violence". He plays dumb until, that is, he pushed to his limit by one of the thugs who puts his family in danger. The rest of the movie involves Tom Stall confronting his dark past and trying to hold his family together after they learn that he has been lying to them for nearly 20 years.
In a season of mediocre big(ger) budget films, these two movies will satisfy and provoke deep introspective about ourselves, and deep concern for the direction of our country.