Mammoth (Mammut) Reviews
It's pretty much a movie about unhappy people. I could see what they were aiming for with the parallels. Ie, Michelle Williams plays a working mum who doesn't have enough time to spend with her family. Meanwhile the Filipino nanny is working for her, practically raising her daughter, while she misses her own little boys at home in the philippines. I found both these women sympathetic. Less so the husband.
The story about what happens to the young son of the nanny is horrific. I think the stories were a comment on life today and priorities, but I couldn't get the point about the husband. So he cheats with a young girl and gets away with it. Were we meant to pity him in some way? I certainly didn't!
Overall a good movie which maybe I didn't quite get, but good acting and great soundtrack.
Great performances by the actors, but the story is what makes this film so great.
Don't miss it.
The film is well structured, balanced and connected in the formulaic 3.
It's a story about sacrifices and those we sacrifice because of said sacrifices. Everyone kills something within themselves. Children and motherhood are the main characters. At the end we can see that the cycle restarts once again.
Overall it's an OK film... depressing, well produced and chuck full of details that the spectator must stay aware of.
Date Night: Nope
Art Factor: Medium
Fun Factor: None
Emotional Factor: Low
Intelligence Factor: Medium
Essential Viewing: No
The Plot: A portrait of the strain distance, work and loneliness in the modern world place on family.
10 Quick Hits
1) This was my fist time seeing Swedish director Lukas Moodysson at work. Very impressed. Nice touches with the ability to make intamcy look so fleeting and distance seem like an inescapable abyss.
2) Oh yeah, Moodysson also wrote the script. While there were moments that felt forced, I never felt that he intentionally or unintentionally became preachy with his subject matter as some "top" critics have argued. No, the subject material just happens to be of a weighty natur that lends itself to more message than most films choose or care to deliver.
3) The score never overwhelms the scene, but instead chooses to dance just outside the picture as almost a shadow to the images.
4) Let it go on the record that I consider Bernal to be one of the most talented male actors of his generation. It's so rare to find a young male actor who can convey such vulnerability while never appearing soft. One day I hope the stars align for Bernal to recieve the general population acclaim that he deserves.
5) As for Bernal's performance in this particular film, he brings enough depth and range to his performance to avoid any trappings of cliche. If you have never seen him work, this would be a good starting point. That being said, I would still recommend starting with one of my favorite movies of all time, The Motorcycle Diaries.
6) While on the subject of elite acotrs of thier respective generation, Michelle Williams clearly fits into that group.
7) Williams has yet to make one acting misstep since beginning her "adult" film career. Much in the same way as Bernal, the versatility that she brings to each of her projects is something worth making note of.
8) I know that I am not the only person to review this film and feel some similarities to the wonderful film Babel. Both are continent hopping looks at the modern human condition through the eyes of very different humans in very different modern human conditions. While I do agree that Babel is a superior film, I would hate for that films greatness to in any way steal any sunshine from Mammoth.
9) Indie music makes up the non score parts of the soundtrack. Cat Power makes an appear which is always a treat. If deep women with touches of grief in there voice float your boat, pick up one of her albums. The particular song of hers that is featured prominently in the film is off her near perfect album, The Greatest.
10) I have no clue why this film did not get more press and wider release. I guess there were just to many great films out there. That was a joke.
While it would be easy to find easier digested material to watch, Mammoth is a brilliant look at what we give up to gain the things we believe are essential. These questions are nice change of pace from the usual redundant questions most films ask of us. Do try and find this. Thank you for reading and enjoy.
Moodysson has always been nothing less than ambitious. Like a Swedish Gaspar Noé, he's unafraid of sticking the truth as he perceives it right up in your face. That truth may have gotten a little out of hand with the emotional, sensory and pornographic overload of A Hole in My Heart, but Moodysson's point about man's depravity was made. He never shies away from his socialist, vegetarian, humanitarian, or maybe even Christian values.
I have a soft spot for the directors that are characters, unafraid to let it rip into you and burn out your eyeballs if need be.
Mammoth, unfortunately, doesn't do that. And it barely feels like a Moodysson film. But if you've seen Babel and you want a little more of the intersecting lives and the social construct of that story, Mammoth might be a place where you can get it.
Two things are easily mentioned as excellence in Mammoth: Gael García Bernal (speaking of Babel!), who has simply gone off the charts in everything he's touched since Cuarón's 2001 film Y tu mamá también. Bernal is becoming one of my favorites.
The other quality that's wonderful about Mammoth is the cinematography itself, created from film crews around the world. But again this reminds me of Babel, and Babel might still have the edge here.
The film does question the global economics of how various cultures are surviving and raising their kids in this age, and no matter the country, no matter the culture, a home without a dad in it is a home in crisis. These are all good points, and Moodysson brings examples from New York, the Philippines and Thailand to make sure we understand his position.
There were scenes in it that I will remember -- especially those of the host mom who finally connects with her child's nanny, just before emergencies separate them both forever. But overall, it is the most dull film in Moodysson's oeuvre. (Having said that I must admit that I still haven't seen his art-film Container.)
I'm still a big fan, and even though I'm less impressed with Mammoth than I've been with his works in the past, I love his values and his social efforts in the film making process. Here's to hoping for more great stuff in Moodysson's future.