Three Quick Reviews in the One Post

Posted by WhenYourGodGivesYouLemons On 12:48 AM

Max Manus Man of War: The true story of Norwegian resistance fighter and cult hero Max Manus. He served in Finland at the start of World War II before returning home to Norway to find it had been occupied by Germany with little to no resistance. Max and a group of his friends band together to form a resistance movement and show the Germans and people of the world that not everyone in Norway has given up the fight for freedom.

I Liked: The story, I am a bit of a history enthusiast so if you attach "based on a true story" to anything I'm instantly hooked and Max Manus was no exception. I never really knew anything about the role of the Scandinavian nations in World War II so it was a real eye opener. Also the film didn't glorify war and sacrifice like some Hollywood films tend to do. Instead it showed that it is those who are left behind at the end of the war, the soldiers, who suffer extreme emotional pain and suffering over the friends they have lost and the question of why they have survived and their friends didn't. It was a powerful message and the scene where Max imagines all his fallen comrades celebrating with him is both touching and disturbing. Finally the film is beautifully shot with breathtaking Norwegian scenery and some rather impressive action sequences and explosions, especially the shipyard scenes. Also Siegfried, the German trying to catch Max, was super creepy and played the villain role in the film superbly.

I Didn't Like: Some of the quotes on the box from reviews of the film were misleading. They talked about it being explosive and what not so I had high expectations of big Hollywood action sequences and whilst it had plenty of action in it, I wouldn't say it was how the box described it. This certainly wasn't trying to be a Hollywood film, it was trying to tell a really sad yet inspiring story of resistance and the costs of war.While I enjoyed the character Siegfried I don't think he was used well enough and had enough impact considering how much screen time he got. At times the film was almost a double act between Siegfried and Max cutting between the two men yet to me Siegfried's character didn't seem to know whether he was a true villain or just another face. I think the director wanted to make him a full blown villain in the film but seeing as this was a historical movie he couldn't exaggerate the actions of Siegfried. This meant that the scenes involving him lacked any real meaning and just provided a bit of a look at the other side.

Rating: 8.5 out of 10

Seraphim Falls: With Liam Neeson and Pierce Brosnan as your leading men you know, chances are, you are in for a good film. Seraphim Falls casts both Neeson and Brosnan as Civil War soldiers, from opposing sides, whose futures are inexplicably linked after one incident that will change both men and their lives forever. Neeson, as a result, swears to hunt down and kill Brosnan's character and the two take us on a journey through some amazing American countryside from snow caped mountains to dried out deserts.

I Liked: The way that the elements, extreme cold and extreme heat, were blended into this film to show the harsh conditions the West confronted people with. Seeing Brosnan dive into freezing cold waters and then shake and shiver, dripping wet when he got out you couldn't help but feel cold as well. The film was also surprisingly brutal due to Brosnan's unmatched ability for killing people and these scenes are handled beautifully with Brosnan showcasing a cunning and a natural instinct/ability to kill a la Rambo. His use of a bear trap is certainly not for the faint of hearted. Also the film has plenty of doubling which helps portray the differences in these two men while also presenting them with a variety of challenges. As Neeson is hunting Brosnan they both go to the same places and meet the same people but do not necessarily share the same outcomes. It is what drives them, Neeson's rage/revenge and Brosnan's sheer determination to survive (for the most part) which reflects their actions throughout the film.

I Didn't Like: The ending. I won't spoil it for you by going into too much detail but for me it really dragged the whole movie down by not ending it how it should have. Everything had built up to this crucial finale and then.... It is just extremely frustrating. Also the film needed more Wes Studi. He appears for about 5 minutes and his character is filled with such wisdom and insight into the world that you just want to hear him speak for ages but his role is cut short and therefore kind of doesn't make sense, speaking of which where did they lady in the cart come from and how did they not notice it until she spoke to them? It should be noted though that I love Wes Studi because he is awesome. It also isn't anything ground breaking in the Western genre if that's what you are looking for, it has a strong revenge element and some beautiful scenery which are pretty standard.

Rating: 7.5 out of 10, the ending just kills it for me.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind: Jim Carrey leads a stellar cast including Kate Winslett, David Cross and Kirsten Dunst in a rather bizarre movie. Jim Carrey plays Joel, a supposedly drab, boring and nice guy who just so happens to meet Clementine, Winslett, who is almost the complete opposite; spontaneous, fun, outrageous and unpredictable. After dating for a while they break up and Clementine seeks out this new medical procedure which can be used to erase people's memories. Joel discovers that Clementine has done this and decides that he too will remove his memories of their time together. Unfortunately Joel discovers, through reliving all his memories with Clementine, that he still loves her and doesn't want to lose her.

I Liked: Jim Carrey, I thought he was brilliant. It was rather strange to see him as a reserved sort of person as he is usually so loud and outrageous but I thought he pulled it off perfectly. He was such a believable character, his actions were done out of anger and as a result they turned out to be irrational, regretful things which we all do. Winslett was also quite good but the weird girl in an indie film has kind of been done to death (I know this predates Juno and (500) Days of Summer but not in my viewing) but it was her ability to be grounded, vulnerable and confused at the same time as weird, spontaneous etc which made her an endearing character. Gondry's direction of what could have been a confusing plot and story is also very good. There are many side stories going on outside of the main story but they don't seem too much or out of place, everything comes together in the end. He also controls the shifts between Joel's thoughts/memories, where you see Clementine and his relationship at various stages before it is erased, and the real world well so that you are never outright confused about what is going on unless he wants you to be. That brings me to the movies twist which plays with conventional plot structure so that the audience isn't given all the answers to begin with. This allows you to become absorbed in the story and once you think you understand what is going on it hits you with a big, welcome surprise. 

I Didn't: There wasn't much not to like. The idea of reliving the memories of a past relationship and subsequent heartbrake is one that almost everyone can relate to and that question of whether you would want to delete those memories or not is one many people would ponder. Probably the only criticism I can make is that it requires a lot from its audience. You really need to concentrate and try to follow Gondry's direction and realise what he is doing to enjoy this film otherwise you will come out going "what the hell just happened?" Also it is the type of film that, after you've seen it once, you can recognise a few predictable elements in the movie even with all the changes to the plot structure and scenes in Joel's mind but they certainly don't take anything away from the movie while you are watching it. You still come out in the end thinking it was a moving and weird tale about love, relationships, people and the mind.

Rating: 9 out of 10.



Post a Comment