Communicator (communicator) wrote,
Communicator
communicator

16 Blocks and Atanarjuat

I went to see 16 Blocks last night. It's more or less real-time like '24' and it's within a claustrophobic framework, a bit like 'Phone Booth'. I personally like films that are very constricted in scope. The leads are Bruce Willis as an alcoholic old cop, and Mos Def as the witness he has to escort 16 blocks to the courthouse. They both give excellent performances IMHO. I don't know why hip hop stars are such good actors and rock stars are so rubbish, but it's just the case, and I'm not much of a fan of hip hop. My son came with me to the show, he reckons it's because rap uses language in the same way that drama does.

Bruce Willis is an intelligent man, and he knows how to play down to play up. He's clever enough to know that for a guy in his fifties the best vanity is to play someone much more broken and ugly than he really is, and then to let the character become more handsome and masculine as the film progresses, as if his true shine is breaking through the mire. This process enhanced by heavy use of eye-liner. I'm not knocking it, like Swinton in Young Adam I am interested to see how an actor with good control and charisma can physically transform themselves into something more or less beautiful at will.

Anyway, this is a small scale film with nothing particularly important to say, but I quite liked it.

The other film I saw this weekend was Atanarjuat, a film in Inuit, set in the stone age Arctic. I liked it, but the friends I was with hated it, and begged me to turn it off, so I more or less had to. I caught the first hour and the last half hour (it's a very long film). I found the story hard to follow (might be because people were shouting 'switch it off'). What I particularly liked were firstly the physical impression of present-ness in the ancient Arctic, and secondly the naturalness and humanity of the people. This was partly down to the subtitles. For instance, someone brings back a bunch of seals to the camp and it's 'Right, we are going to have a big feast tomorrow - are you guys going to come?' I mean in those words, and that's obviously just what real people in the stone age would have been like - they used their language smoothly and unselfconsciously like we do. Unusual to have the subtitling as a major part of why you like a film.

You might find this film a long haul but I would have preferred to give it more attention than I was able to, and I liked what I saw.
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