Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mini Movie Discussion

Saw Redbelt yesterday. More or less, I have to agree with Brian's assessment on Pajiba. Of coures, I read the review before seeing the film, so my perceptions may be colored.

It was definitely worth the money to see, especially with my own developing interest in the martial and cinematic arts. It is one of the better films released this year so far.

Here is the thing: the only product of David Mamet's I have ever seen in its entirety is The Unit. But the man has a very distinct style that was quite apparent.

It was a hoot seeing Max Martini (aka Mack Gerhardt on The Unit) in the film. And I totally bought he would be the kind of guy who would commit 21st-century seppuku instead of dishonor his school.

Not so much Rebecca Pidgeon. Pretty much played the same character she did on the show. And I didn't like her. No knock on the actress, heck, it is probably a compliment that she managed to rub me so far down the wrong way.

Also, when the HELL did Tim Allen start acting? Like honest to goodness acting? I know he had Galaxy Quest, but that was a fluke right? It can't be that he might actually need a decent project. Because that would make all the bitching people do about him (and myriads of other actors) completely meaningless. I mean, surely The Shaggy Dog was going to be a winner, if only they hadn't cast him. (Then again, I have a soft spot for former addicts that actually TRY to stay sober instead of going to some bullshit 'rehab'.)

Damn, it is a depressing movie, really. Nearly everyone trying to do the right thing in it gets screwed.

One theme I picked up on was the idea of belief and dogmatic thought. Mike Terry was willing to uphold his beliefs, but he never forced them on anybody else. He simply lived and let live, happy to let the other characters play their games, as long as they didn't involve him. He did assume that others shared his beliefs, but he didn't find out for sure until he was challenged. On the other end, everyone (except for a select few) scoffed at these beliefs, and tried their damndest to force him to change. Mike simply wasn't willing to make money for his own sake; he only change his stance in order to help other people, most of whom still screwed him over. Seriously, how hard would it have been to just let the man be on the goddamn film? Was the three stones so damn profitable that you had to utterly devastate him?

Oh before I forget: Emily Mortimer was fantastic. The knife scene was short, but it defined the characters so well, and I doubt anyone else could have done it better.

It was a bit disconcerting how so many characters were concerned about finances and bills, especially the wives of Terry and Officer Joe. It just seemed like it was a bit overemphasized. Take Sondra, Mike wife. Maybe her concern was simply because she hated that her brothers were raking it in, while she had to keep bailing Mike out, but did she have to rat out Officer Joe to do it? The guy killed himself, but no real display of regret or anything from her. I highly doubt that she didn't feel some remorse, and she had to know her actions were partly responsible.

Then there was Officer Joe's wife. Seriously, the man you loved lies dead by his own hand, and the biggest complaint you can bring up is his pension and your bills? Really? The anger is understandable, the target also; it is the execution that was weird. Then again, it was hinted at that there was trouble in their relationship already, so maybe that was supposed to highlight their distance.

Still it is a well-made film, and except for those issues (which were more errors of omission than intentional), I would definitely recommend it.

Verdict: More Mamet awesomeness, as usual.

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3 brain pickings:

  1. Verm - I highly suggest The Spanish Prisoner and State and Main. Mamet awesomeness abound.

  2. You are also directed towards House of Games and the film version of Glengarry Glen Ross (among other things, this is where Gil from The Simpsons comes from).

  3. Shadows of DakaronMay 20, 2008 at 7:56 PM

    I second Spanish Prisoner and State and Main. Awesome movies.


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