Showing posts with label Kiefer Sutherland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kiefer Sutherland. Show all posts

Monday, 27 May 2013

Stand by Me

Stand by Me, based on a Steven King novella, is a coming of age drama about four young boys who set out one morning in search of a dead body that is rumoured to be lying not far from their small Oregonian town. Over the course of a couple of days they encounter excitement and danger and return as changed people on the cusp of adulthood. The film has a classic charm and easy on the eyes style which rolls slowly out in front of the audience. It takes its time and focuses on the character’s journey and is only lightly interspersed with action. The movie is more dramatic than the more comedic but similarly themed The Goonies and it features more adult language. I believe however that the language realistically captures the way that boys of that age, from that era would have spoken and it doesn’t hold back to make itself available to all ages.

Even though the film is set nearly thirty years before I was born and on an entirely different continent, many of its ideas reminded me of my own childhood. It made me yearn for the days of adventure when a friend would arrive excitedly at my house to announce that he had found a dead cat or that a window was open in a house under construction around the corner. That rush of youthful excitement and danger is something which you don’t experience as an adult and as the film clearly states, your friends at that age are the closest you’ll ever have. The movie made me feel very nostalgic and sad to be sitting on the sofa with grey hairs, thinking about putting a load of washing on rather than throwing on a jacket and running out of the house with reckless abandon.

Thursday, 22 March 2012


Melancholia follows the story of two sisters, Justine (Kirstin Dunst) and Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg) during and shortly after Justine’s wedding. Both, but especially Justine, are suffering from depression which is perhaps being bought on by the fact that the rouge planet Melancholia is on course to come very close to colliding with the Earth.

The film begins with a long sequence of ultra slow motion images that are beautifully framed and shot. While stunning to look at, after a few minutes I did begin to worry if the whole film would be like this and it unfortunately began to remind me of Terrence Malick’s The Tree of Life which I really did not get. The remainder of the film is split into two sections, each named after one of the sisters, the first at a wedding and the second shortly after. After the quite wonderful opening sequence I found the cinematography in the rest of the film annoying. Von Trier uses a lot of shaky camera work and at times it is more like a Bourne film than an emotional drama.

Another problem I had with the film was Dunst’s character. While she is excellent in the role and probably the best I’ve ever seen her, I felt that her behaviour at her own wedding was ridiculous. I was surprised that her fiancĂ© Michael (Alexander Skarsgard) would have wanted to marry her in the condition she was in. At the best he should have got her some medical help and at the worst, run a mile. I also found it strange that Dunst was American yet her mother, father and sister were English. It didn’t make much sense and I was confused for the first 45 minutes by who her parents were. I thought that the film on the whole was clunky and like a first draft. There are undoubtedly great moments in there but to me it felt like half a film. I also found it very monotonous. On the plus side, the view of Melancholia as it passed by and approached the Earth was spectacular and stunning.

Considering the last Lars von Trier film I watched, Antichrist had Charlotte Gainsbourg ‘pleasuring’ a man until he bled and then removing her own clitoris, I was hoping for a more enjoyable watch with Melancholia but while Antichrist isn’t an easy watch, I thought it was a better film. I realise I am opening myself up to not getting what von Trier was trying to do and while I do get the idea of depression and someone’s depression destroying the world, I just didn’t think it was dealt with in a satisfying way. The film was confusing and not interesting enough.