Monday, April 03, 2006

E for Entertaining, V for Vendetta, I for Intruder and L for Laborious

Just a couple of flicks this past weekend...

"V for Vendetta" (dir. James McTeigue, US, 2006, 135 mins.) was a fabulous looking and wonderfully performed comic-book drama, that just POUNDS AWAY at its message of 'anarchy rules!' Though the MESSAGE is slammed away at us, the actual events and dialogue are terribly convoluted and make a not so smooth transition from the literal to the metaphorical in its climatic last few minutes. Natalie Portman (finally!) gets to really act! (She appears to hate George Lucas' green screens.) John Hurt does his scene stealing, growling, drooling best as the EVIL Chancellor. And Hugo Weaving does his typically sonorious best beneath the mask. Oh. The mask. I realize that it is faithful to the original comic book (or would that be 'graphic novel?'), but on film it just comes too close to being a cross between "Phantom of the Opera" or the slasher in "Nip/Tuck." Also, the Wachowski brothers (screenplay and producers) seem to have gotten a bit overly involved during a climatic fight scene, in which we are thrown into "The Matrix" for no apparent reason.

So, to follow up with the (admittedly agreeable) overt obviousness of "V...," I wandered into "L' Intrus" ("The Intruder") (dir. Claire Denis, France, 2004, 130 mins.), which is the latest offering from the director of "Beau Travail" and "Friday Night," both of which I have seen and... was painfully bored by. "The Intruder" nearly lives up to those, too. There are fans out there who love the opportunity to pick apart this wandering, sluggish and foggy plot. These would be the same school of viewer who has spent hours dissecting Michelangelo Antonioni. I just write it off as having been written in stream of consciousness and that any symbolism (He's Russian? What's with the dogs? What's with the water? What's with the gap-toothed woman sleigh driver?) may have been purely coincidental. Why we go from France to Korea to Tahiti just seemed unnecessary. In other words, why were those locations integral to the plot? To the symbology? You tell me! Denis' pacing and non-linear plotting just work my nerves, and I don't find her visuals at all that intriguing or inspiring to keep me interested, regardless of what's happening (unlike Matthew Barney, for example, who I have NO IDEA what he's 'saying' but I just love looking at it)! Speaking of visuals, we get to see Michel Subor in various states of undress. It is perhaps catty of me to criticize, as I am no Brad Pitt, but... KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON, Mr. Subor! Had I not had a friend to meet for lunch afterward, I would have walked out. I am afraid that THIS was my 'strike three' against Denis.

No comments: