And finally, oddly, I decided to wrap the month with a movie that wasn't really even on my radar, that I've never had the slightest interest in, and that I expected to suck in a "this is what happens when a once-great director puts way too much money and effort into taking a stab at a genre film" kinda way. I have not enjoyed Scorsese's work much in a long time, I find it bloated and over-glossed, Hugo
perhaps being the best example for me. And I have always kinda loathed DiCrapio. I mean, I can count the movies I've seen with him in it that I liked on one hand, I'm sure, and virtually every one I thought the movie would have been better with virtually any other legit star in his role. I was also vaguely aware that the movie had a "twist" and I was pretty sure I knew what it was from seeing the preview on TV once or twice 8 years ago.
So you can imagine how low my expectations were going into this. Not sure what made me bump it over Deep Red
and The 'Burbs
, which both got excluded from the month because of this (and some internet trouble).
So imagine my surprise that I actually LIKED this movie. I mean, I genuinely thought it was pretty good. Not great, but when it ended I smiled and said to myself, "Well, Logan, you were wrong, that was actually pretty good."
I think the movie was perfectly paced. I mean, I thought the run-time was gonna be too long for such a straightforward story, but I think Scorsese used all of it.
I thought it was very competently acted from top to bottom, even Leo, and I mean that as a compliment, since the film doesn't call for a lot of dramatic acting in most of the roles. But I thought Mark Ruffalo was great, Ben Kingsley and Max Von Sydow were exactly perfect in what were actually kinda complicated roles. Michelle Williams is always awesome and I think that people not named Scorsese would have had to settle for someone a lot less amazing in her role and the movie would have suffered subtly for it. Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson, Jackie Earle Haley, and Elias Koteas all have strong moments.
Obviously it's very well-shot. It's good looking, for the most part, but it does have the Scorsese-gloss. That's for the negatives part, though, it's a well shot and well-edited movie, shots are held long enough to have impact but never lingered over too long (the former being a real problem these days, I find).
Now, here's the funny thing. As I said, 8 years ago I saw the trailer and heard there was "a twist". And with nothing but that I said, "Oh, the twist is X." 8 years later, I watched the movie, and I was right. This is no great feat. Probably everyone who walked into this movie knew what it was, unless you hadn't heard it was a "twist movie" in which case you probably figured it out around the 40-minute mark if not sooner. So what's funny about this? It didn't matter. The way the movie is made, yeah, maybe if you somehow didn't see the twist coming it was cool, but it's really about how the twist is built and how the reveal is treated and the movie ends. It's really nicely done. I was really impressed. So I guess it's the writing too, with the direction, acting, editing, all that.
My few gripes? Really don't have a lot here. I felt like I could have dealt without the Scorsese-gloss and his love-affair with CGI is really problematic for me. I really struggled with it in Hugo
but here you really have to work hard to tune it out. I mean, so many scenes are so obviously green-screened and it takes you right out of it multiple times. The CGI blood does the movie no favors as we've all talked about so many times. And then the actual special-effects that are just awkward CGI within
green-screen shots, and it doesn't give it a dream-like quality, it looks digital. In a movie set in the gritty 1950s on an island with stone forts and shit. It's tough. I didn't take anything away from the movie for it but I really didn't like all that and I had to actively discipline myself not to get annoyed over it.
Alright, that's enough, I got shit to do.