George Doll's Profile - Rotten Tomatoes

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Rating History

Nightcrawler (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Louis Bloom, the titular character of this wonderfully grim episode has secured his place as one of Hollywood's most memorable morally bankrupt anti-heroes. The conception of this freakish predator by actor Jake Gyllenhaal and director Dan Gilroy has produced a character fit to scheme along side the likes of Gordon Gekko and such recent psychopathic narcissist's as DiCaprio's Jordan Belfort, and Kevin Spacey's Frank Underwood. What sets Louis apart from those white caller social climbers, who deal in shady politics and piles of money, is how far he is willing to go for a measly portion of that pie. Bloom is able and willing to be sociopathically apathetic in order to secure a respected position in the fluorescently lit office of Los Angeles' lowest rated cable news station. The thief turned amateur crime/tragedy videographer risks lives and manipulates crime scenes for a couple of grand, and this sort of seedy behavior is exactly what makes the film great.
As the audience sits transfixed watching the gaunt and hypnotic Gylenhaal, the joy comes from seeing how far he will go to meet his ends. Why do these ends need to be met? Who knows? Why does the Coyote hunt? One look into Louis Blooms eyes betrays a man possessed by some malevolent (and happily unexplained) force. Perhaps he is less of a character unto himself and more of a symbolic entity. An avatar for the current "Hyper Capitalism" of today's society, a phrase coined by director Dan Gilroy while discussing the uber competitive nature of today's job market. A realm in which a "dog eat dog" mentality is not only tolerated, it's encouraged and rewarded. One would be lying if they were to claim that they didn't derive some vicarious joy from watching Louis Bloom operate. Though we of course find Louis's schemes unforgivable, if we were really that disgusted by him we would stand up indignantly and leave the theatre, but we don't, in fact we root for him to succeed. It is interesting to note the similarities between the final theatrical poster for this film and the one sheet for Martin Scorsese's 1976 film Taxi Driver. Both films feature an anti hero protagonist with violent intentions who traverses the streets by night. The difference between the two is that one would appear in the newspaper as an American tragedy, while the other may as well have his own reality show.
On a technical level this film is a very impressive and confident product from first time director Dan Gilroy. Robert Elswit's cinematography (The Town, There Will Be Blood) paints L.A.'s darkened city streets with the glossy sheen of a soda can. The crane camera moves around the beautiful red mustang and the shooting of the climactic chase scene are handled with beautiful restraint. The frame is locked down and it looks spectacular. I cannot heap enough praise onto Gylenhaal. Though I sometimes feel that drastic cosmetic changes an actor undergoes for a role are unnecessary fluff that can be fodder for tabloid reporters and publicity junkets come Oscar season, I can say with certainty that his shedding of 30 pounds was the absolute right choice. His gaunt features and weird manic starving energy bring a lot to the mangy nocturnal Nightcrawler. I tended to think of Jake Gylenhaal as a pretty boy with limited range but his recent work with directors like Duncan Jones and Dennis Villeneuve have been excellent. I hope he continues this prolific output of great roles.
Needless to say this is a fantastic dark satire that is continually engaging, exciting and shocking.

Out of the Furnace
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

Incredible. The best film of 2013

Filth (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

I was really impressed by this film, it isn't as relentlessly grim as some reviews are making it out to be, it isn't as hip as something like Trainspotting, which Is what I think a lot of people were looking for but it is incredible visceral and vibrant. And it's all because of James Mcavoy, who does an incredible job here. His character is an absolutely morally destitute social climber yet he still manages to be likable and hilarious. It's fun to watch McAvoy terrorize, manipulate and mistreat all the characters in the film. We let him get away with it as an audience because just behind the charming grin and wink we can see the gaps in his armor. The film does a really good job of illustrating his moral complexity without compromising the rebellious nature of the movie and of Irvine Welshe's themes. The movie is gripping, fast paced and an all around perverse experience that is less about reckless youth abandon as it is about reconciliation and clarity. Still, it strikes and excellent tone all the way through to the last frame.

Frank (2014)
2 years ago via Rotten Tomatoes

"Frank" is a film about brilliance and what it means in our culture. Often, as is illustrated in this film, being a brilliant goes hand in hand with having a tortured soul and creative clarity is not all it's cracked up to be. This movie, which features Michael Fassbender walking around in a giant paper mache head is unique on multiple levels but especially in regards its characters and their motivations. Normally in a film like this, (i.e. one featuring an outlandish, charismatic and brilliant main personality) Domhnall Gleeson's character of Jon would simply be written as the, in-awe of Frank, audience surrogate. While he does fill that important role, he transcends being a narrative device and by the end of the second act, he and the film become a cautionary tale. Gleeson is a motivated, aspiring musician. The first half of the film is an audience pleasing coming of age story as we watch Jon, a mostly untalented song writer who finds himself filling the role of key boardist for Frank's underground dream rock/ experimental band. After the band records their album, Gleeson's Jon becomes an overconfident opportunist who then tries to sell the cult of Frank to a large audience. Its in doing this that he finds it difficult to domesticate the wild genius, who becomes unstable. It's a very interesting turn for the film to take and it provides a satisfying amount of substance. Fassbender is great; especially once the mask comes off. Somehow he is able to quell his stardom and leading man charisma and bring out something subdued, real and tragic. He also does a great job with his strange Thom York/ Jim Morrison voice during the bands excellent songs. The soundtrack is really something to check out.