Archive for July, 2013

Having seen a few weeks ago Side Effects I was reflecting that maybe would not necessarily do a bad thing taking a break from directing. Well, I had not seen ‘Contagion’ yet, one of his previous movies. To use the terms of the story in this movie, the origin of the disease can be traced way back.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1598778/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt1598778/

 

The world is in danger in Contagion as a deadly flue virus originating (where else?) in South-East Asia is spreading around the world, killing first individuals, than thousands, than millions. Governments, corporations, the World Health Organization, become all engaged in a race to find the roots of the disease, to stop its spreading and contagion, to find a cure. The problem with the film is that there are too many threads, none of them extremely interesting or surprising, some going nowhere. For example a researcher seems to have found a cure but is ordered to stop research and destroy the samples – we never learn why, last time we see him he seems to disobey the orders and then he just disappears for the rest of the film.  An Internet blogger and journalist claim that cure exists and proves it on its own body, but this thread never connects with the rest of the film. If the purpose of director Soderbergh is to show chaos on screen he did succeed, but it’s more film-making chaos than everything else. There were a few moments when it seemed that the film heads towards showing the impact of a catastrophic disease on the fabric of the American society, but these were also wasted in too expected scenes of army in the streets and supermarket plundering, lost and forgotten soon enough, as brave scientists discover the cure and test it on themselves to speed the solution. The script is disappointing, a collection of TV soap episodes concentrated to a few minutes each and badly interconnected.

 

(video source movieclipsTRAILERS)

 

The cast is certainly impressive. Heaving on screen in the same film Kate Winslet, Jude Law, Matt DamonMarion Cotillard, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a few other  who would alone hold a movie on their shoulders is certainly a performance for the producer and a pleasure for spectators. Fans should however be warned that some of them die young in this film, and none has the opportunity to play a role that will be remembered for a long time. Despite the gathering of talents Contagion is a confusing and chaotic film.

 

 

 

 

 

Here is one action movie that succeeds in a very original manner to say more about the America of today (or of a few years ago) than many other ‘serious’, ‘social’, ‘politically-engaged’ film. It does it so in a very Tarantinesque manner, but it’s Tarantino violent and milieu films with a twist. Or more than a twist.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1764234/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1764234/

 

Apparently director Andrew Dominik made just another gangster story. We can locate exactly when it takes place, as the soundtrack mixes music with speeches from the final weeks of the 2008 presidential campaign. A couple of low level losers gangsters rob an illegal poker house, which is owned by the mob. The reprisals will not be late into showing up because crime is a business and there are several levels this business is operated. One of the greatest qualities of this film is to catch the characters that populate the different layers of the crime industry and bring them to screen (with the help of a well selected and directed cast) in a very credible manner – from the drug-addicted burglars in rags to the smooth business-like manipulators at the higher levels who do not look too different from the corporate America managers, certainly not when they sip their Martinis.

 

(video source joblomovienetwork)

 

This is maybe the last great role of James Gandolfini (I did not see yet ‘Zero Dark Thirty’) and he has a couple of poignant scenes with Brad Pitt, fighting overweight, bad health and a feeling of mid-life lack of achievement which may stay as one of the last memories we are left from him. We will also be left with the memory of the final replica which puts the story in the context of a country which is run as a violent and uncompromising business. Certainly just one of the meanings of America today.