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French Born director Yann Demange, has created as intense a drama as could be expected within a documentary style movie - etched out of a real life and death situation from the pathetic streets of civil war torn Belfast. The ridiculously contemptuous hatred of religiously opposed inhabitants – living at close quarters of each other – shows human foolishness at its gut wrenching ugliest. Demange's intelligent direction and refusal to over exaggerate, combined with Scottish writer, Gregory Burke's angst-ridden, believable script, ensures each nerve wracking situation propels the viewer on a breathlessly desperate journey of survival. At times it's difficult to keep up with the double and triple crosses (including inept mistakes) as each party pits itself against its assumed enemy.
In the end of time all are reduced, without quarter, to fools of the saddest most ignorant order. Performances are of the highest order, and Tat Radcliffe's photography combines handheld camera shots that don't make the viewer feel nauseous, David Holmes pensive music score moves believably within the action. While laced with coarse language and violence its recommended for adults who admire thoughtful, hardnosed, true to life drama that tells it as it is - without dim-witted embellishments. It also thankfully, does not outstay its welcome.
While Russian Police/Law Court corruption is a good topic to take aim at - this movie's attempts may not render a great deal of difference. It comes across as lacking convincing continuity or situations. A Child's mother dumps her baby at an orphanage then comes back 16years later and attempts to reclaim him but is refused, on grounds of being proven completely unfit to care for him. Still, somehow, she manages to simply walk out with him in toe. The lacklustre script takes such story liberties without being all that believable or genuinely involving. Seems she wants her son to be a road accident pawn to fraudulently set-up big ‘accident' claims. Our so-called mother, then proceeds to walk around the house wearing scanty underwear day and night (muttering something about it helps to keep the house clean!) Cheap sensationalistic writing more like it - bringing on suggestions of an incestuous set-up. At one stage, while coming home from a drunken party, she asks her son to hold her up while she urinates in the street, this comes complete with close-ups of pee falling between her legs onto the pathway (what did we do to deserve so many ‘vital-story-element' details!!).
The resultant court cases, even though they demonstrate unforgivable corruption seem somewhat unconvincingly set-up so it's difficult to feel much outrage - without feeling manipulated as a viewer. Director and cameraman have chosen to work with dimly lit, cheap wobble-cam handheld camera shots, often having the look of a film school student's work. This was made with funding from the Ministry of Culture of Russia but looks rather poor in its ‘cultural' output. With all the elements of terrible corruption being examined, this topic might have been better served if treated as a documentary, as is, what could have been worthy comment comes across as shallow movie making.
It's not a long movie but feels rather endless. Some may last the distance without reaching for the remotes double speed device but, could be doubtful if all that many.
Stylish above and beyond expectation this Polish oddity has no cheap handheld wobble cam to drag it down to the level of average psychological thriller & yet, average psychological thriller it ultimately is. Talented French-born Cinematographer Piotr Jaxa has a long list of shorts and documentaries on his list of achievements & at times, this one looks as if he were working for the Swiss Tourist Bureau. Piotr fills the screen with delightful eye candy views of sweeping Swiss countryside - tending to steal the show completely. Polish director Greg Zglinski is following closely the slick style his fellow countryman Roman Polanski perfected with ‘The Tennant' - along with several other movies about unhinged characters. With a bizarre script by Jorg Kalt (who curiously took his own life soon after he wrote this) the viewer is taken on a mind-bending trip into spot-the-crazy or did-it-happen-or-not territory.
Problem here is with little or no relief from the mystery it can become tiresome. A lacklustre music score adds almost nothing to the mixed up goings-on and only those who enjoy a good looking - but basically going nowhere movie will be left fully awake. For a select audience only, and If you think you've worked it all out, take another look and ask yourself again. Oh, some may enjoy the strange looking talking cat that comes and goes to taunt people with some murderous suggestions.
The main plot of this curious movie about a bank robbery is immediately intriguing, then a little baffling, till it goes on to become perhaps a tad outlandish. There's enough involving interest to make you stay with it but if you like to analyse your movies - it may not always hold up (no pun intended). The cast is well chosen and carry their parts admirably; the direction, photography, and music keep it flowing onwards to its somewhat odd ending. While the screenplay definitely has a certain flair - it maybe gets just a little too clever for its own good - leaving those thinking about it wondering just how some situations might have been possible to achieve? Never the less, there's some clever twists within the smart writing of this sleeper that will demand your full attention.
There's a lot of suspense and thanks to a particularly psychotic character, more nastiness than might have been altogether needed. Christopher Plummer convincingly plays the frightening psychotic with Elliott Gould very good as the seemingly mild-mannered, nerdy front desk bank teller. It's an interesting cat and mouse thriller with some shocks along the way. The movie-makers have certainly fleshed out certain moral failings within the modern banking sector, and given some recent worldwide banking staff activities, have served up a well-deserved hit
This Warner Bros bio-pic is certainly a cut above the average of its type and year. Dorothy Bakers searing novel is adapted for the screen by Carl Forman (High Noon) and Edmund H. North (Patton). Versatile Kirk Douglas again confirms his tour de force range of emotions as a young Trumpet player (Rick Martin) on the way up and also on the skids. He's also in love with the wrong woman! Sultry Lauren Bacall is perfect as the wrong ‘female' - a slinky rich psychiatry student and destructive gender confused type - who dabbles in everything and is generally unsuccessful at them all. Doris Day giving a semi-dramatic turn does very well as the dance band singer who warms to the ‘lost' trumpeter.
Douglas brings pathos, and power to his character (loosely based on the life of Bix Beiderbecke) especially during the breakdown scenes – but he's perhaps a tad overconfident a performer to fully convince as a clumsy, low self-esteem type (this could also be partly due to Curtiz's direction) Juano Hernandez gives a standout performance as the sympathetic jazz muso who takes the young orphan under his wing – freely giving him vital tuition that guarantees the naturally talented, but disadvantaged lad - a priceless introduction to a career in the field of professional music.
Michael Curtiz delivers his usual confident directorial professionalism but perhaps the real power is found in the dazzling look of this film. Superb director of photography Ted McCord fills every scene with his strong stylised visuals – injecting a moody power into every situation, also making the grand cast look especially magnificent. Best of all, is his stunning use of outdoor locations, featuring richly dramatic shots of parts of N.Y. that has since passed into memory. Not enough can be said of the power this combination of McCord and Curtiz bring to this un-miss-able 1950 picture!
Striking musical direction and score by Ray Heindorf, with a shamefully uncredited additional score by the great Max Steiner - featuring the playing of trumpet virtuoso's Harry James and Jimmy Zito, make for an unforgettable dramatic musical treat. Great production values, art direction, sets, editing, wrap together an eye-popping, ear candy experience for lovers of the era. The upbeat ending could have been dropped but is not as bad as some may say within a ‘loosely' based bio. Hoagy Carmichael is unforgettable as piano player/narrator ‘Smoke' ~ with young Orley Lindgren (under My Skin ‘50, Alias Nick Beal'49) most impressive playing Rick as a boy (whatever happened to Orley?)
The W.B. DVD offers good images and that special W.B. sound