Da 5 Bloods
On the Record
I May Destroy You
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Not only the pigeon sat on the branch, it also relieved itself on the viewers' heads. Never once the repetitive vignettes manage to involve or compel to any particular reflection, and their only saving grace (the cold, matte aesthetics) becomes dull after the first minutes. The fundamental nihilism deserves to be laughed at just like the idealism we find so much easier to mock.
The plot is exactly what you would expect, but the interactions between characters and the atmosphere flows like the French songs in the soundtrack, punctuated by comedic moments that never feel out of place (the very tears for lost love are part of one of the funniest scenes, for example). Nicholson and Keaton create the right mixture of romance and wit in such a spontaneous way that it makes one wonder why they haven't starred together in more films.
I feel sorry for rating this film because everyone in it looks uneasy, as if they already knew that it was going to fail. While certainly not lazy, Ritchie's approach undercuts the narrative, muddling the action scenes and wasting some of the best ideas: the fantasy elements such as the travel through the Dark Lands or the Camelot sirens deserved much more space and would have given the film a personality in its own. Instead we are dealing with the sad (although not irritating) product of effort put in all the wrong directions.
It is deeply symbolic indeed: the fire extinguisher represents Noé's burdensome and nihilistic pretensions of philosophy, blending oh so perfectly with the lascivious violence of Bellucci's tortured body. This is the cinematic equivalent of a cheap porn magazine with a cover of Thus Spoke Zarathustra glued over.
Branagh's lavish direction and heartfelt portrayal of Poirot clash severely with the array of suspects, either underused or inadequate, who just don't keep the story moving along the trails. Even Johnny Depp and Judi Dench don't have enough time to shine, and the only exception is Michelle Pfeiffer who could rival Bacall's take on the role. The prologue distracts from the admittedly elegant train, the real centre of the film, and sometimes the mystery feels out of focus.