{Of all lies, art is the least untrue - Flaubert}

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Two Lovers

James Gray is called old-fashioned for a good reason. His films are endlessly compassionate and understanding of people's foibles. In a world loaded with ironies and tropes, it not just the otherness of his films to the rest that draws us to them, but its their closeness to the lives we live. Gray's Two Lovers absorbs its hero's trauma, rage, love and life into its big heart. It understands that human weaknesses, and human compromises cannot be shrugged with one shoulder and empathized with other. Gray's complexity is not in the method or technique, but in the characters he draws. There is no specific vision (can there be an intentional vision for an artist?), no terrific shot or a bleeding style, but an undeniable sense of human handling of characters and their quotidian yet valued lives and loves.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Inglourious Basterds

Of all his films yet, with Inglourious Basterds Tarantino shows signs of that bloody lump that romantics call heart, for it has at least one real woman. Mélanie Laurent's Shosanna is that full-blooded creation - with Women-with-past, Revenge-Doll and Lady-in-Red rolled into one. Working in his usual chapter format, Tarantino creates some of the most taut and dramatic scenes, building the tension through witty dialogues and camera movement (sometimes by lack of it). The first chapter, although a full blown homage to Sergio Leone Westerns, is something that works as a mini film in itself (a warming up exercise, if I may say so) and it lets the viewers (who are misled by Tarantino imitators that he is all about action) realize that slow build up pays off big. In the first few minutes, if any such viewer thought that nothin' happenin', is duly shut up by its dénouement. Also, this film lets Tarantino to face his Film-Fetish head on. Fuming a theatre full of Nazis with ghostly image projected on film-stock smoke is anyday better than film references when one would talk about power of cinema.

Wednesday, April 08, 2015

The Hurt Locker

I loved The Hurt Locker a lot when I watched it for the first time, second time around I was not too sure about two things - The opening quote "War is a drug" and was slightly disappointed by little too explanatory ending. Only one of them was sufficient for a movie which invests itself so brillianly against easy categorization into ideas. That said, the most brilliant thing that The Hurt Locker does to fuse two genres - war film and action movie, without any misplaced guilt or fanboyish indulgence into violence, and the result is something which makes us think about all the bravery and gore and fury that goes into a war. With multiple tense conflict scenes, The Hurt Locker respects the bravery of the men in uniform and their actions but does not disrespect life at any point, on either side.