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Sunday, September 25, 2011

DRIVE - Brilliant!

        We've watched a lot of heist movies. We've also watched many 'heist gone wrong' movies. But, this one is not quite like the ones we've watched before.

DRIVE is a movie about Ryan Gosling who works as a movie stunt man, car mechanic at a garage and a wheelman helping the burglars getaway from the scene of crime. He leads a lonely life and gets sucked into his neighbour Carrey Mulligan's life when he meets her by chance. She is a married woman with a kid and is waiting for her husband to be released from Prison. Gosling forms an emotional bond with Mulligan and her kid and becomes part of their lives. Mulligan's husband gets out of jail and in interesting circumstances gets along with Gosling for a heist. But, this heist goes wrong and Gosling falls into a web of dangerous backlash from the mob and this gets intertwined with his relationship with Mulligan and her kid. The story is then about how he manages to break all the shackles.

Its a simple story with no great layered approach to the narration. But, its the treatment to this story by the director Nicholas Wending Refn that makes this movie go from good to brilliant. Ryan Gosling is mindblowing in his understated and subtle performance. His interactions wih Mulligan are the highlights of the movie. Through out the movie, director goes for fewer dialogues than what would have seemed adequate. He lets the scenes unfold using clever pauses and great background score. He also loads confrontation scenes with violence and doesn't shy away from showing the brutal side of the leading character.

I would be pleased to see Gosling fetching an oscar nomination for his performance but the chances are next to none going by the genre and the tone of the movie. Academy prefers to stay away from this kinda movie.

Fast paced thrillers are ruling the roost these days but its a slow paced, stylish and effortless movie like this one that comes across like a breath of fresh air. Its not your regular edge-of-the-seat thriller but it is more in the space of a Mulholland Drive in which there is no visible urgency for the story to unfold.

Watch this movie and be sure to get treated with this stylish side of Hollywood that entices the audience of better movies in days of mindless, 'heavily loaded with routine action' and cliches days!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Contagion - Touchy!

       Director Steven Soderbergh has an impressive CV. What stands out is his audacity to try different genres and subjects in every new project of his. Good directors often do that.

This time around he has delivered a movie on an epidemic that creates mass hysteria. Its a unique subject material and Soderbergh is more than capable of doing a good job at it.

The story revolves around how the people and global health organisations cope with an epidemic that threatens to wipe out a major chunk of the population on this planet. The movie dwells into psyche of common people and at the same time gives us the picture of how intelligence agencies and government health agencies react to this uncontrollable phenomenon.

To garner public attention, director has casted hollywood heavyweights like Gwyneth Paltrow, Matt Damon, Jude Law, Marion Cottilard, Kate Winslet and Laurence Fishburne. But, the director doesn't get startstruck and ensures that he does not give more attention to any character more than what the story dictates. Each of these stars have done a good job at what they have been asked to do.

This movie works because of various things. For me, the best aspects were the narration, camera work and background score. Camera lingers on certain objects every now and then to magnify the effect that object would hold on the spreading of the epidemic. Director uses this effect among others to create a thriller out of a story of how a disease takes lives and baffles everyone.

The first and last 10 mins of the movie have fewer dialogues and are brilliantly executed.Director plays with the pace of the story telling almost faultlessly.

The only part of the movie that could have been better is the story track of Jude Law for the first half of the movie and kinda pull the intensity down. But, director makes it up but by adding extra meat to that track and giving it an important place in the narration.

Watch this movie for its unconventional take on a subject that itself has not been tried many times.Watch it for stars who turn into mere characters. Watch it to know how the 'controlling groups' of the society go about their affairs in situations like this.Watch it to witness how common people like us become hooligans for the sake of survival.