|The worst part of the whole movie.|
Nominees: "Brokeback Mountain" "Capote" "Good Night, and Good Luck" "Munich"
I had initially watched this movie when it first came out. I thought it was a fantastic movie back then with a good story winding all over the place, with good characters and even a good moral. Now is the time to see if I have changed and if I will see this movie differently.
A brief story overview goes something like this. It opens with Don Cheadle's character investigating a murder in L.A. and it then jumps back about 24 hours before that point and we find out how we arrived there through short 1 to 10 minute scenes of various characters going about their daily lives. This sometimes means criminal activity, political/lawyer work, police work, and just regular old life for the other characters. The overarching theme of the movie is that race and racism is the cornerstone of almost all the interactions and conversations that occur in our world, it clouds over and pervades everything that we think, do, and say. Ultimately this movie is about race relations and simply uses a multitude of characters of various races to show how pervasive racism can be. I think the interconnected nature of the stories and short scenes is simply something the director/writer Paul Haggis (yay Canadians!) likes to use to tell a story.
I love the interweaving stories in most movies, and this one has interweaving galore, with timed events moving around and little snippets of scenes of each character and how they all seem to meld together in one way or another. This is exactly what I love about Tarantino's movies (of course Tarantino likes the long drawn out scenes versus these short scenes, but the idea of the interweaving stories stays the same) and I love this one for this reason too. Okay, so the acting isn't always stellar (here's looking at you Brendan Fraser), although Matt Dillon did wonderfully as the creepy cop.
One criticism I was thinking during the movie is how is it possible that all these people had such a crappy day and how they are all interconnected. Yes L.A. is a big city, but I doubt it would be possible that all these people are having such a bad time of it and most of them end of somehow being connected to each other (a la Kevin Bacon's six degrees of separation). Nevertheless it is a very good film and it shows us at our worst and most vulnerable. I also feel conflicted over the short scenes. They work well to move the stories along and help the movie move along without it feeling too long and boring, but sometimes the scenes are too short and it doesn't give the viewer a chance to really connect with the characters. I only really felt connected to a few of the characters and can't help but think this could be a reason, it could also be the lack of excellent acting for many of the actors. I mean most are average to above average with a couple really good performances and a few fairly bad performances.
Overall this movie is very powerful, and at times very difficult to watch, but all around very good. I felt myself tearing up a few times, but if you stick with it, it is a very good emotional film. The oddest thing about this movie is while watching it I couldn't ever really remember what happened next, but during the scenes I could remember having watched the scene and it felt like I had just seen it a few months ago, not six years ago. I guess this speaks to the powerful nature of the movie, the raw emotion and how it leaves a lasting impression. It doesn't tie things up nicely in the end, which is something else I like, the people's lives just keep going on just as they were (I hate fairy tale endings, sorry folks, life is far from a fairy tale and doesn't tie up nicely at the end). We just got to eavesdrop on a brief glimpse of 24 hours of their lives and it sucked for some and wasn't quite as bad for others. In some ways I think this could be considered stream of consciousness for the movies; and no I still haven't finished Ulysses yet, but I do plan on it some day.
Admittedly I haven't watched any of the other best picture nominees, but I could see why this one won, certainly a good movie and worth a couple viewings.
Next up, All About Eve. Never heard of it, the short description sounds boring but we will see.
But it deserved the Oscar. Cinematically, visually, and emotional, it is... I don't even know. But if I ever have to watch it again, I might shoot myself. And I wish I could forget that I watched it in the first place. I'm going to have nightmares for a month.
Verdict: The Academy was right.