Posted on 11/13/11 10:39 AM
Kusturica is one of the great but overlooked filmmakers of recent times, and this is one of his best works. The story might be the usual rags-to-rich-gangster arc but what made this movie was the sheer inventiveness of the filmmaking. The photography was out-of-this-world brilliant, where I could've just stared at every frame. The characters all had their little (or not so little) bizarre tics to them, and Kusturica gave the entire film an aura of surrealism that made the experience unique. It was really the strangeness of the movie that made the most impact on me and elevated the drama. It also made for a lot of humor. As pure (intentional) comedy, it was as funny as anything out there, but the moments of sadness also rang true. The cast was uniformly excellent, even the main character's naive love interest, who is certainly not the most accomplished thespian but actually used that to her advantage to communicate innocence. Others have called it overly challenging and dramatic, but I think it was very fun to watch as pure entertainment as well, with the same sort of quick pace as, say, late period Scorsese.