Friday, May 20, 2011

Movie reviews, Two (too many?) for the price of none, Source Code and Hanna

It's been pointed out by one of the blogerati (thanks to a super-injunction I'm not allowed to tell you it was Isabel, click here for her views on food, life, Singapore, and food) that I've become a little over-reliant on film reviews to fill these pages and I have to admit there's more than a trace of truth in that pithy observation.
To be honest I've been a bit busy business-wise and a weekly trip with my lovely lady to cinema-ville is one of the few breaks I've been enjoying, but, the point is well made and duly noted.

Her Ladyship and I were in sunny Italy last week and I'll jot down some thoughts on that trip this weekend. Here's a question, why do we jot things down but write things up?

In the meantime may I offer a couple of write-ups of a couple of excellent films?

I may? oh thank you...

Source Code - It's Groundhog Day, with explosions

If there's one thing , recently, that convinces me of the splendid diversity of the human race it's the expressions of my beloved wife and our three chums after a showing of Duncan Jones time-traveling thriller Source Code, without exception they were wearing "what was that all about?" faces whereas I was delighted to explore the possibilities, ramifications, consequences and unresolved anomalies inherent in this thoughtful "Groundhog day on steroids" movie.

Unlike my lovely but linear companions I do like a movie that makes one think, that builds without long-winded explanatory dialogue, that demands the effort to work out what's happening. It's this aspect of building the story in my own mind which, I think, made me much more appreciative of this "solve the mystery in eight minutes, failed? try again!" tale than I was of Inception which despite some stunning cgi and action relied overmuch on the actors telling the audience what was going to happen, a good technique for a presentation, less involving for entertainment.

I like to be challenged and within Source Code I found myself repeatedly surprised that the sensible and logical assumptions I'd made were sensibly and logically overturned. There were some serious flaws in the story, if any of my readers can explain the original rationale for the bomb on the train (apart from the need to provide the core of the film) I'd genuinely appreciate it. The acting was effective, mature and believable, Jake Gyllenhall was a fine leading man and I'm going public with a 'bit of thing' for Vera Farmiga who was (to my mind) very sexy in "Up in the air" and doesn't become less so in a tight USAF uniform.

A haiku in eight minutes

Solve the mystery
Win the girl, save the people
You've only got eight min...

And here are some trenchant (hopefully) thoughts on Hanna

Diligent readers may recall my lack of enthusiasm for the relatively recently released Salt which attempted to "do a Bourne" with the lovely Angelina but failed. There are some similarities in this tale of a young girl, raised in the wilderness ( a real wilderness, not Slough) by Eric Bana and not meeting any other human being until unleashed to exact vengeance upon, inevitably, the CIA woman who killed her mum and monkeyed around with her DNA.

The film opens beautifully with a stunning Arctic scene and the filming and locations are superb throughout, transitions between scenes are through sunsets, the filming of the open spaces is excellent but the more intimate scenes are absolutely a feast for the eyes and ears, I was delighted with the Spanish fireside flamenco scene, a real joy.

This is a rare thing, a genuine thriller, one that thrills through the excellence of the story and the acting, it's powerful and involving and kept myself and Mrs Stuffy awake and intrigued throughout. There's a theme running through around Grimms fairy-tales and those of you who are "spotters of references" (yes I mean you Isabel and Mark) will delight in the number and subtlety of the fairytales links and many references to (or thefts from) other films from Fifth Element, through Wizard of Oz to Gladiator.

So, the writing is great, the direction is clever, the cinematography stunning, what of the casting? Erik Bana is under-utilised but effective, Cate Blanchet and Tom Hollander make good baddies and the unfortunate English family with whom Hanna falls in play it very well but this, make no mistake is Siorse Ronan's film, she makes the vulnerability of the invulnerable huntress believable and sympathetic and for one so young and with such unusual looks will, I'm sure be very busy for some time to come.

If you're looking for a damn fine thriller, look no further.

A haiku for Hanna...

White snow, wild white hair, .
We willingly will the wild one
"whack the wicked witch"


At 4:40 am, Blogger IzinSing said...

Class haiku! And I absolutely loved the Amalfi (or not) post. Keep up the excellent work, my friend; you owe it to the world.


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