Entries tagged with “Rooney Mara”.


I am seldom asking such questions, but now I need to ask it. ‘Why did they do this film?’. Seriously. A film may made because the director or the script writer have one or more messages to transmit. In some other cases the message is not that important, and the goal is to entertain. Films have target audiences that go to see it because of the message or because they want to be entertained. Of course, there are better films and not so good films. In the case of ‘s A Ghost Story I can appreciate some moments of good cinema. And yet, I did not get any message and I was deeply bored. Life of ghosts is probably boring, this is what I understood from this film. But why should film audiences be bored also, some of them after paying money for the film tickets? So, please, somebody who understood the messages that I missed, and/or was entertained by this film, please, be kind and help me!

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6265828/mediaviewer/rm948854016

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt6265828/mediaviewer/rm948854016

 

A young couple, C for and M for live in a country house. He is a musician, she uses to leave hidden messages in places she lives. He dies suddenly in an accident and has to cope with grieving and continuing to live. He turns into a ghost, with a blanket and two holes (for eyes? we never see them) who watches her, the house, the life that goes on, time. I will stop telling more in order to avoid spoiling whatever pleasure one may get from watching this film. I could understand the feelings. I could relate to what the characters are feeling. But I never understood whether the director really wanted us (viewers) to resonate or just played a big joke. It just did not make sense.

 

(video source A24)

 

There is a game with time that the script is playing with the viewers. I will again avoid spoilers and say no more that time happens differently to ghosts than to humans which is something quite obvious. At some point in time, in a rather unrelated scene a supporting character makes a party drunk speech about Beethoven and the cosmic cycles of the Universe. Are we supposed to understand that we all (human and ghosts) live some smaller cycles within the Big Cycle? Maybe.

and  are fine actors, but they did not help too much in this film. The ghost blanket looks kind of funny, maybe it was supposed to provide the comic counterpoint, actually there are a few more, including a she-ghost in a neighboring house. Cinematography is good, but the overall slowness of the camera movements make feel the about 80 minutes like three hours. Overall it’s a pretentious, boring and confusing experience.

 

When I wrote about the Swedish version of The Girl with the Dragon Tatoo a few years ago I ended with a remark that I am concerned about the news of an American Hollywood version of the film. I still believe that the Scandinavian version of the first of Stieg Larsson’s book in the Millennium trilogy is a better movie, but from many respects the American remake directed by  is a respectable effort worth being seen and watched even if you have already seen the original, and even if you are not necessarily a big fan of the author and the legend around him (which continues to develop as we speak).

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568346/

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1568346/

 

I was expecting to see what the director of Se7en, Fight Club, Panic Room, Zodiac, Gone Girl, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button will make out of the labyrinthine and cool (from so many respects) Scandinavian thriller. To my surprise he was quite respectful to the original story, and developed it better than the version directed by some of the detective story elements. The Agatha Christie heritage is so evident here that we did not need a in the cast to make it more obvious, but I enjoyed his presence. The Hollywood version is also more detailed in describing the social backgrounds of the two principal characters and this only makes their encounter even more charged when it happens. Did I miss something from what I was expecting from Fincher? Yes – the surprise, the usually close to the final twist that makes many of his film be something else than what you believed them to be when you watched them for the first time. Too much respect for the text sometimes harms.

 

(video source Sony Pictures Entertainment)

 

Despite being made at high professional level the Hollywood version stands one step lower than the Swedish one on several key aspects. One is the atmosphere. Whatever Hollywood cameramen do, snow and cold and the light of the North look and feel different in a Scandinavian movie, and the original dialogs and the soundtrack sounded more natural in the Swedish version than the English spoken words. The other is acting. It is said that  brought life into Agent 007. It may be that the dose of life needed to make James Bond a real person is not enough to make investigator journalist Mikael Blomqvist the man in Larsson’s novel who overcomes his life being broken into pieces in order to find the truth. who played the role in the Scandinavian film walked that inch towards fully melding into his character. Almost the same thing can be said about ‘s rendition of Lisbeth Salander – one of the best roles created in the last decade for a young actress. Mara makes us forget her other (nice girl) roles, while had made us forget that there is an actress behind the character.

Despite being better than most of the Hollywood remakes of non-American movies, David Fincher’s film stops one step apart from being as good as original, maybe at an invisible border that cannot really be crossed.

 

For us, folks living out of the United States there seem to be two institutions that govern strongly the lives of our American friends: the courts of law and the shrinks. While tribunals are institutions that for most people out of the US seem to be equal to being in trouble and lawyers a category of people to avoid, a little more acceptable than the gravediggers, the American way takes easily its conflicts into courts, and lawyers seem to be on the top of the social and wealth scales. Same for psychoanalysts, with the process of going to one being considered to be a social and personal necessity even for the not so rich in America, and the sign of some malady or deep trouble elsewhere. Actually in ‘Side Effects’ Jude Law does not hide at all his native British accent as he plays shrink from the UK who comes to Manhattan in order to be able to exercise his profession as a honorable one. He works hard, he seems to succeed and then he meets trouble.

 

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2053463/

source www.imdb.com/title/tt2053463/

 

Trouble comes under the shape of a young and troubled woman (Rooney Mara) whom he meets in hospital after she tried to commit suicide. She has a history of such troubles and even more reasons now, as her husband (a white collar offender) got out of jail and was trying to find his way back to the world of investment. Like everybody around doctors, patients and everybody else knows about psychotic drugs, the shrink tries some, they do not work, try another experimental one, it seems to work … and then she kills.

It’s just the start of a film that changes a few times tone and direction approaching successively a few themes – the obsession of the American society with shrinks and related medication, the ethics of using experimental drugs, the relation between shrink and patient, and a crime story which also changes angles and develops towards an unexpected but also an incredible outcome.

It is not really clear what kind of movie Steven Soderbergh wanted to do. He observes well the medium and cinematography is very good in emphasizing the atmosphere and the stress the characters go through. The crime story he relies on is however too complicated and not only the ending is hard to accept, but also some of the key details on the road. Are we supposed to believe that a doctor who was involved in the medical past of the patient, and who may be suspected of malpractice because of allegedly using an experimental drug with unexpected side effects will not only be accepted as an expert witness in court, but also continue to be trusted as the personal psychoanalyst and supervisor of the accused after she is condemned to be interned into a mental institution?

 

(video source Movie Trailers)

 

IMO, acting is not stellar either. Rooney Mara conveys at the beginning the fragility of a troubled mind to the point that I found hard to believe the final twists. Jude Law with his face stoned in one expression only for the whole film (with just his beard growing, cheap way of showing men in trouble in movies) is ‘only good’, which is relatively bad for this splendid actor. Catherine Zeta-Jones is the worse – a miscast which cannot be believed neither as shrink nor as lover.

It is said that director Steven Soderbergh declared this will be his final film. I really hope this is not true, this would be for me a poor ending to a career that has seen much better achievements.