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Parkland (Peter Landesman, 2013)

The stories of some of the bystanders of the Kennedy assassination after the event is explored.

Watching this made me realize that many things can go wrong in a movie. Unfortunately, the whole film felt like a documentary-reenactment for TV with many of the big names just being in it to up their Imdb star-meter ranking.

Biggest problem of the film is that for some reason the makers assumed that there is a general emotional level of shock about the assassination they can build upon. I don't have that, and neither did anybody in the audience. So most people sat through it, obviously bored and desperately trying to attach themselves to at least one of the characters. But nobody stays on the screen long enough that we can really understand what problems they are developing. At one point it becomes comical, but nothing suggests that there might be irony in this film. (Trying to get the coffin into Air Force One is bizarrely funny, but it just doesn't work)

Most of the time the poor sods depicted are shown in a state of utter disbelief, aggravated shock or in tears. Side characters do the talking for them, stating the obvious, mostly. The over-sentimental music does its best to exaggerate these scenes. Oh, those poor poor righteous citizens - at one point I was wondering if the producers were trying to stir anti-American sentiments by releasing this film. Yes, it was that annoying. People left the cinema swearing and head-shaking. Somebody called it the 'most expensive masturbation' on the big screen they had ever witnessed, and, 'a Republican wet dream' (?). Too bad, Gore Vidal isn't alive anymore. He would have had a field day on reviewing this one.

For me, the worst was that the script misses a fantastic opportunity: The complicated situation that Lee Harvey Oswald's brother is faced with and how he tries to deal with his dysfunctional family, while at the same time his brother is possibly the most hated person in the world. As we learn at the end of the film, he never changed his name. But I've really would have liked to know, what he and his wife and kids had to endure in the years to follow. The actor James Badge Dale (who was really good in the little room they gave him here) could have had his big chance with this character. Now, that would have been a great movie. 


Beliebte Posts aus diesem Blog

They drive by night (Walsh, 1940) #DTC #161

Two truck-driving brothers dream of a better future and financial independence in a sea of good and bad fortune.

Although the film has all the ingredients of a film noir, like the selfish femme fatale, Bogart, and many night scenes, this is something you could consider a feel-good movie. It pretty much surprised me with its turns and twists and I also wasn't prepared in the least to see Bogart as the sidekick, instead of the lead.

In terms of interesting characters, Ida Lupino as the selfish wife that tries to seduce George Raft's Joe she is definitively at the most intense when she slowly sheds all the layers of sanity towards the end. Although her motives are a bit unclear - the amazing thing about her behavior is that she values love over money. In that perspective the movie feels like a tragedy, as (except for the loan shark) everybody has comparatively sophisticated understanding of emotion and life.

Au revoir les enfants (Louis Malle, 1987)

During second world war the monk running a boarding school for upper-class kids hides Jewish kids.

This highly personal movie is very touching and manages to avoid all the pitfalls of being overly emotional. Music and editing are very subdued and carefully used to underline situations. This makes the story ring true (which it was) and gives the viewer good time to settle into the universe that these kids live in.

There are many quite complicated scenes and I was interested in one particular: When Jean gets invited on parent's day by the mother of his new best friend into a posh restaurant. In that very restaurant there are Nazis at one side of the room and an elderly Jew sitting on the other side. The table of the family is right inbetween. Many things about France during the war are told during this scene, I'll just try and focus on camera placement.

The focus shifts twice in the scene: From the family table to the French Jew's table  (who I have been told wears the red …

Glory (1989, Edward Zwick)

A young commander in the civil war is asked to recruit and lead the first all-black Confederate battalion into the Civil War.

I am not too interested in details of the American Civil War but the film managed to stir my interest in some ways. I might want to look up the difference in treatment of the many Chinese laborers that were employed in the development of the West and what kind of legacy this particular group of people has to suffer from in contrast to the better-known fate of African-Americans.

There are some interesting scenes in the film. I decide to examine the battle scene in the beginning. It introduces Broderick's character as a naive and brave but inexperienced soldier - a great choice of casting, especially in contrast to the hardened appearance of Washington. According to imdb footage was used from re-enactment groups and intercut with the staged film.

Before the battle scene commences Broderick walks in row of soldiers and talks over the pictures of the gathering…