Da 5 Bloods
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I May Destroy You
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In my experience Robert Altman either makes really interesting but overly long films like Nashville (1975) or really long and intensely boring films like Quintet (1979). An outlier in his career is this Sam Shepard vehicle from 1984 that features Kim Basinger of all people giving a fantastic, Academy Award nomination worthy, performance as his romantic lead. The film has a major twist that I am going to reveal in this review and it really changes the way you view the film. I really love this film even though it is essentially a filmed play and I can find Altman to be over indulgent in most of his films. I would definitely recommend that you see this film as it is an odd, wonderful delight that really sticks in your head when considering how minimal it is in presentation.
May, Kim Basinger, is working at a small, derelict motel which Old Man, Harry Dean Stanton, seems to inhabit. Her life is disrupted when her possessive ex-lover Eddie, Sam Shepard, arrives and tries to convince her to move to Wyoming with him. When she refuses he begins to physically fight with her but it quickly becomes clear that this is a pattern for them and they are in a permanently on again, off again relationship. Dark secrets are revealed however as we spoiler: realize that Eddie and May are half siblings and that Old Man was the terrible father figure that they both had to live with.
The movie really accurately portrays an unhealthy relationship in which the two lovers are dangerously obsessed with one another and cannot function with or without one another. We are introduced to May as a capable slightly weathered young woman but with the arrival of Eddie she begins to make illogical decisions and her confidence seems shaken as he is able to sweet talk her into doing almost anything. The end of the film makes it clear that there is no way out for the two of them as even as Eddie abandons May we know she will continue to pine for him and he will return to her, win back her trust and the two will be passionately in love for a short time before he lets her down again. The inclusion of two characters with some redeeming features, Eddie has very few, makes the idea that they are toxic for one another more shocking because as individuals they are pleasant.
Basinger's performance, as I mentioned, shocked me in the amount of depth it contained as she portrays a woman who is a slave to love. She and Shepard have a powerful chemistry as the connection between them is strong but painful as we know that they are both family and lovers, uncomfortable relations to combine. She is not just a vulnerable sexpot here but a woman with a troubled history, a poor father figure, who is trying to get her life back on track. Basinger plays things very subtle here but embraces the physicality needed for the role and matches Shepard with her tortured expression. In this and The Natural (1984) she gives some of her best performances and I only wish we had seen more of her in this mode. I expect Shepard to be decent but not brilliant as his most entertaining roles have come from Steel Magnolias (1989) and The Right Stuff (1983), as he wrote the play this film was based upon I would hope he could understand the character he plays.
Altman doesn't do anything special with the shooting of or technical execution of the film and for that I am glad. If he had added dream sequences, extra characters or overlapping dialogue to the film it would have been too much and overwhelmed what is so great about the film. He lets Basinger, Shepard and the great screenplay shine and during the flashback sequences he chooses to shoot everything from far away letting Stanton explain how and why Eddie and May felt for each other even as children. For the certain type of Robert Altman fan who claims that even Health (1980) is a great film this is not the version of Altman that they want but if you enjoy Shepard's work then this is a film for you.
A fairly confusing but bravely filmed movie.
I'm going to work myself through Robert Altman's oeuvre and this is not a great start!
Though most of the tension of the theatrical presentation is gone, the movie preserves a lot of the play's lunatic humor. It also understands the Shepard concern for characters who have somehow found themselves cut loose from any social roots.
This movie is based on a play and it totally feels like one. It almost all takes place at a small hotel. The acting is okay, with Basinger being the best. Shepard seems to be over acting a lot in the beginning and his character is a total jack-hole.
The last twenty minutes does get decent, but the 80-some minutes before that are boring as sin. I fell asleep twice during watching this film.
It's clear Stanton is Basinger's father, but he never acts like it. It's clear Shepard has some past with her, but she also never seems to act like one happened. Quaid apparently is her current lover, but he shows up to the film late and just kind of stands in the background most of the time.
Some crazy woman keeps showing up to fire a gun a few times and then drives away.
And it has one of those horribly annoying right when something big is about to happen, the movie ends leaving nothing explained. I hate those endings.
Altman's always worth watching, although this is pretty interminable for the first act or so. The third act is really good, but it dies in the last minute or so. The music is bizarre and inappropriate, and the DVD transfer is one of the worst I've ever seen.
This is another great Robert Altman film, based on the play by Sam Shepard. Kim Basinger is a great actor. Harry Dean Stanton turns in another brilliant performance as himself. Fans of either Altman or Sam Shepard should see this, but don't watch it if you're in a bad mood.
I saw this film in my Intro to Theatre class last week, we read the play, then watched the movie. The funny thing is the play is only one act. so it's a bit long and drawn out it should of been shorter, but the film has an interesting climax. The soundtrack to the film has some interesting country songs in it. Randy Quaid is a great actor. if you're a fan of Robert Altman, Sam Shepard, and love stories that were never meant to be, then you would like it.
A ideological visualization of a love game between a man and a woman who both are obsessed with each other.
The description of this movie was better then the actual movie was