View Single Post
Sar
I can't remember everything I've seen recently, but a quick rundown of what I watched in the last 48 hours.

Hail Caesar - 8/10

This is a pretty minor Coen Brothers work in a lot of ways and a pretty major one in others. It's pretty frivolous, light stuff on one hand -- probably not as funny, pound for pound, as their last straight comedy Burn After Reading -- but it has some of the most ambitious, virtuoso filmmaking of their careers and I speak specifically of the brillaint song and dance number with Channing Tatum. They handled the ensemble really well, and the themes of the movie and double meaning of a lot of scenes didn't dawn on me until halfway through the movie (the speech Clooney gives in the third act is fucking hilarious when read with the double meaning that I won't give away for those of you who haven't seen it) and the entire ensemble is put to really good use. I think it will definitely benefit from repeat viewings, Coen comedies tend to take a lot of unraveling before the tapestry is properly laid bare, so I look forward to seeing it again in a month or so.

The Look of Silence - one billion/10

This is one of the most soul-searing films I've ever seen. This shit chilled me to the fucking bone. I'm still processing the emotions I have from seeing it, but I CANNOT stop thinking about it and will not stop talking about it. I don't know that I have a ton of interesting shit to say about it because the film is so raw that it kind of does all that work for you; its message is very clear and incisive. So if you haven't heard of this movie, it's the companion piece to the documentary The Act of Killing (which we'll get to in a moment), and in this film an anonymous man (called Avi in the film but that's not his real name) travels to interview a series of men under the guise of giving them an eye exam and confronts them about their part in killing his older brother (killed before Avi was even born) and one million other people during the 1965 Indonesian genocide. When we got out of the movie, I drove my friend back to his place in abject silence before saying "I feel like my eyes have gotten blacker just from having seen that movie". It's deeply disturbing and something I'll never forget for the rest of my life.

The Act of Killing - 10/10

I've seen the theatrical version of this and the director's cut, but not for a little while and after seeing The Look of Silence I thought it was time to rewatch this movie. At the time of this writing, I'm only about halfway through my rewatch (taking a break to recharge on my humanity before diving back into that bit of despair) , but I can report that it remains a singularly bizarre experience. I may never be able to process watching a mass murder be celebrated by himself and his community so much, or the open corruption, or the cheering of the paramilitary as the general proudly refers to the troops as "gangsters" and himself as "the biggest gangster of all". The movie itself is so goddamn strange, and descends into such madness in its second half, that Anwar's realization in the last few minutes that the thousand people he killed were all human beings who were scared and confused as he killed them, is so sobering and...fucking bizarre (language has failed me in describing my experience with this movie), that for all the filmic surrealism going on (I believe there's a scene where Anwar is in a cocoon of some sort in the jungle), the strangest part of all of it is a man discovering empathy in his 70s.

I babble on and on about the mindset of killers or people who kill for god and country and how I don't, nor will I ever understand the ability to override basic human impulse and empathy for some ethereal ideal presented to you by someone else, and while these two films may have done the best anyone ever will of putting a camera in those peoples' faces and pushing deeply into their gray matter, I seem to have emerged from them even more confused.

I'm going to go stare at the wall and despair for all of humanity.
quote