Brief Movie Review: The Messenger

This is a deeply affecting film that shows off the acting chops of Woody Harrelson to great effect. He doesn’t seem at all out of place alongside the female Daniel Day Lewis (meaning best film actor in the world), Samantha Morton.

It strikes me that the three finest films I have seen about the War That They Say Is Against Terror focus on the toil of being a solider: Stop-Loss, The Hurt Locker and this. This might lead us to consider many things. Firstly the attempt to render soldiers admirable can no longer take the form of untrammelled glorification like in the old days. But then shit like Act of Valor still exists so we have to qualify that claim. Secondly, there is a natural desire to make sense of the waste that the wars have been by empathising with the warriors. These movies that focus on the tragedy of the combatants (on our side) might be a form of penance for sending them out there in the first place.

But mostly I am struck by how the enemy is pretty much nowhere to be found. Because we don’t know our enemy.

I don’t mean that in a “They’re hiding in the shadows” sort of way. I mean it in the sense that these wars are perhaps most wrong for the way we have fought them, remotely and at a distance. We claim to build nations, but we just destroy targets. We can’t make a film about the people we kill because we can’t even find out where they might have been killed since battles are no longer matters of public concern, hidden by official secrets acts and obfuscated behind national security concerns.

I’m out on a limb here so let me retract this in the future. But as fine as they are, these films might well condemn us doubly for their narcissism.

Your Correspondent, Remembers that war doesn’t determine who is right, only who is left.

Brief Review: Shame

Man this is a hard movie.

If it was made by a confessing Roman Catholic, would it have been received so well?

I only ask because in its unrelenting depiction of how warped sexuality begins in the appetite and expresses itself as violence, it is so explicit (morally as well as visually) it wouldn’t need to be altered for it to become a companion piece to a contemporary Catholic pastoral letter about the pornofication of society.

This is not enjoyable. This is not amusing. But this remains a very good movie.

Your Correspondent, Feels like watching The Station Agent after this

One Line Review: Beginners

This could have been a great hour long drama but it dragged for centuries and if it wasn’t for the considerable beauty of the lead actress and the even more beautiful architecture of the sets, I would have probably wandered off to think about how a Jack Russell is different from a terrier.

Beginners Movie

Your Correspondent, Thinks can’t stay poignant when their plotless

One Line Review: The Debt

Although it would be unlikely to win my funding, this film, which could be pitched as “From the team that brought you Kickass!, a movie that examines how the revenge-instinct prompted by the Shoah must be tempered by the desire to move beyond, into justice” and yet it still somehow doesn’t manage to raise itself onto the level of fascinating.

Your Correspondent, Thinks Jessica Chastain makes the world a better place.

One Line Review: Martha Marcy May Marlene

Before The Master arrives, I watched this other movie about cults where we see in Elizabeth Olsen the best debut since Jennifer Lawrence in Winter’s Bone and it surprised me how effective a horror film it is.

Your Correspondent, Marvels that a film about losing our sense of self can have such a firm sense of its own identity

One Line Review: Heavenly Creatures

When you consider how easily it could have descended into a cheap lesbian-themed shock-laden schlocky horror movie, Heavenly Creatures is a prime and subtle example of how masterly direction is at the heart of a successful movie.

Your Correspondent, Wonders if that director might seek to interpret other difficult projects on screen?