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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ides of March - Mesmerizing !!

There is a scene in which Gosling and Clooney meet in a hotel that’s shut for outsiders. They engage in a conversation where they both try to outdo each other and attempt at proving the other person wrong. It’s a simple scene but the director employs clever lines and great style in conveying the emotional turbulence that both the characters go through during that chat.

Political thrillers are always interesting to watch. There is always a plot of people involved in betrayal, cheating and treachery. This movie also does that. But, where it stands out from the rest of the lot is in its realistic depiction of the behind the scenes events. It doesn’t get too dramatic at any stage nor does it try to over-sympathize with the characters. It is bold, hardnosed and to the point.

The story revolves around the presidential campaign of George Clooney which is ably lead by Philip Seymour Hoffman as his chief campaign manager, Ryan Gosling who is Hoffman’s assistant and their team. Paul Giamatti, who is the chief campaign manager of the opponent camp tries to entice Gosling into working for them and pushes him into turmoil. Principles and ambitions clash with each other but Gosling prefers to stay with Clooney instead of joining the opposition camp. But, unknowingly this event and another critical one (a major spoiler) lead into sequences that threaten to derail the whole presidential campaign of Clooney and career aspirations of Gosling. The story then revolves around these lead characters to show how they battle tough situations trying to come out clean and successful.

This movie belongs to Ryan Gosling. This is his 3rd movie this year after Drive and Crazy, Stupid, Love. He continues to try different genres but still emerges unscathed by the burden of intense characters and difficult scripts. He is truly one of the best ‘actors’ around and has again done one hell of a job. It was an uphill task for him to perform alongside movie heavyweights like Clooney, Hoffman and Giamatti. But, Gosling works like magic. He takes the centre stage with utmost ease and carries the movie forward with his brilliant performance.

George Clooney is impressive as a director. He takes a backseat in terms of screen time and lets the story unfold from Gosling’s point of view. Clooney’s control over the narration is amazing and he doesn’t lose the grip over the story at any point in time. The performances are duly enhanced by smart dialogues and they add a punch to the already impressive package.

This movie may not appeal to everyone because of its pace and the style of film making. But, it’s a definite watch for every moviegoer. Miss it at your own risk as ‘The Ides of March’ is mesmerizing.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Moneyball - Engaging!

        Making movies about true events from the sports world is one of the toughest jobs in movie industry. The audience get associated with the movie easily and its then a big gamble from the movie maker's point of view. The passion towards the sport would reflect in the opinion towards the movie and it will get easily discarded by the audience if the maker keeps even one wrong step.

Moneyball works very well given all the gambles it has to play with. It is a simple story told beautifully!

Moneyball talks about the baseball managerial career of Billy Jeane(Brad Pitt). He is incharge of a club that has been mediocre in recent past and its upto Billy to revive the fate of the club. In his pursuit of revival, he asks a young,bright economics graduate Peter Brand(Jonah Hill) to assist him. They both team up and try to "replace transfer of popular players" approach with that of statistical computation of cheaper but good players. They face obvious opposition from the core group of advisors and the coach Art Howe(Philip Seymour Hoffman). But, they relentlessly try to implement their approach and the story is then about how Pitt and Hill try to take the club to pinnacle of success.

The main story track is interlaced with two sub plots. One of Billy Jeane's career as player when he got spotted by a club in his teens. Another story track is that of his current personal life. He is a divorcee and gets to meet his daughter every now and then. Director focusses on how Billy coped with his personal conflicts and devils of past to divert all his angst into his baseball job.

The narration basically is made up of extended scenes consisting long conversations. These conversations are made very engaging and interesting by the dialogues that have been written in a clever way. Not once does the pace drop drastically to make the viewer uncomfortable or bored.

Although the story in itself  is good and inspiring but its the performances of Pitt, Hill and Hoffman that takes the movie to greater heights. This can be considered as one of their best performances of all time.

The interaction between Pitt and his daughter are very catchy. The sequences are written and executed beautifully.  Brad Pitt's internal turmoil has been portrayed very well and the director shows how good he is at his craft.

This movie was touted as Brad Pitt's shot at the Oscars. I'm not sure if he'll be the leading contender but I'm certain that  the academy will reward him with a nomination at least. This is more than a wish than a prediction.

Its a very good movie and definitely deserves all the accolades. Watch it!