Another edition of More Short Film Ratings including Basic Instinct, The Departed, 500 Days of Summer, 10 Things I Hate About You and The Impossible. Though perhaps this edition should be called Longish Film Ratings as I have gone into a bit more detail this week, especially The Impossible, due to the high standard of films I have watched recently.
Basic Instinct 4 / 5
Intriguing, devilish, sexy and thrilling.
All of these words can not only be used to describe the film in general but also the enigmatic writer Catherine Tramell (Sharon Stone). This film exemplifies the brilliance and excitement of the chase, especially when it’s a sexy woman who has made it almost impossible for the cops to pin her to the murders that she is prime suspect in. An air of not knowing for absolutely certain the identity of the killer keeps alive the idea of whether Sharon Stone is guilty or not throughout the duration of the film. Detective Nick Curran (Michael Douglas) engulfs himself in her life to try and nail her (pardon the pun), and he does this at great risk to himself especially during the sex scenes where the murders have taken place.
A fascinating film which has been described as a “neo-noir masterpiece” which it fully deserves with its dark and intense settings and mood that is used to create scenes which are full of intrigue and mystery. This theme runs throughout the film and the combination of the high-frequency string music and lack of dialogue for scenes where the audience thinks that the chase is reaching the climax is stunning. A devilish film that keeps you hooked until the final seconds…
And of course THAT scene!
The Departed 4 / 5
The Departed is an engrossing film depicting the fluid morality of Boston gangsters in their constant battle with the police and federal agents while they bring in enormous amounts of cash, in particularly a big deal with some Chinese mobsters. Both sides have an informer in the other side with both of them passing on information to help bring down and evade the other side. This constant battle is fascinating to watch and the balance of power is finely poised for much of the film, even until the closing scenes.
This Oscar-winning film features some brilliant casting, especially Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon in their respective roles in either organisation. A stellar supporting cast also help to contribute to a riveting story that is inspire by a Chinese/ Hong Kong trilogy called Internal Affairs.
The film is tense and gripping, especially for both Billy Corrigan (DiCaprio) and Colin Sullivan (Damon) in scenes where; their loyalties are questioned, talks about potentially uncovering them or whenever the two of them are close to each. The film steadily builds to the crescendo that everyone is waiting for, when Corrigan and Sullivan finally make contact with each other. From this moment on, the whole scenario changes and everything unfolds quickly and in dramatic fashion.
What prevented The Departed from being a 5 / 5 was what I considered a bit of a plot hole: Why would the mob employ an ex-cop? And when they discover a rat in their organisation, why kill everyone else bar him? Furthermore, I felt that the ending was rushed and the finale ended up being just a big pile of bodies which let down the film. With over two hours of build up to the finale and fascinating and intense action scenes strewn along the way, I felt that the culmination of everything would bring something more than just bloody carnage. Despite my reservations about the ending, it was shocking and brutal which was most definitely Scorsese’s intention, The Departed was a brilliant film and a gangster film that everyone who enjoys this genre of filmmaking must watch.
500 Days of Summer 4.5 / 5
Delightful, charming and smartly inventive.
The story or boy meets girl has been told and re-told a thousand times over. But 500 Days of Summer exhibits a cleverly constructed structure telling of the high and lows of a relationship between Tom and Summer. The usual structure is thrown out of the window and instead highlights dozens of moments big and small, happy and sad, as the story of Tom and Summer gradually draws ever closer to the 500th day and whatever that particular day brings with it.
Accompanying this fantastic and creative storyline are two brilliant lead actors. Both Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Zooey Deschanel were perfect for the roles. Not only is their off-screen chemistry replicated on-screen, they create a perfect balance in their relationship as it moves on throughout the film.
A unique romantic comedy that is unlike any before. The film’s realism in terms of actual relationship’s rather than Hollywood’s clichéd perfect romance is a big factor in why this film has received not only a high mark by me (a very honour indeed!) but also esteemed film critics that have remarked upon the innovative and delightful storyline, structure, acting and music. The combination of it all thus creates a romantic comedy that has surpassed them all in delivering a believable and heart wrenching story of relationships.
10 Things I Hate About You 4 / 5
Another brilliant romantic comedy, but one that exhibits more typical aspects which are traditionally displayed in such films of this genre, for example; a bad-boy who is reformed, an unpopular girl who finds love, a nice guy gets the girl, a bad guy gets his comeuppance and there is a happily ever after.
The lovely blend of multiple storylines, character developments, music, comedy, romance and sadness helps to create a vibrant and enchanting film that manages to bring all storylines together in great fashion at (you guessed it) the prom.
The merging of comedy and romance makes its way into Patrick’s (Heath Ledger) wonderful and comical performance of Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You as does Cameron’s (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) excessive planning to get the girl of his dreams. However, the film’s exhibition of a very touching moment is what has made this film stand out from other rom-coms, Katarina’s (Julia Stiles) poem that she reads aloud for which the film gives its name to is beautiful and symbolises the heart-wrenching and competing emotions of love. The film despite its clichéd structure, has these types of moments within the film that separates it from the others.
10 Things I Hate About You is a lovely, funny and superb romantic comedy which I will watch over and over again much like 500 Days of Summer. Both films though categorised as rom-coms offer something slightly different and with the acting performances in these films, clever and different storylines and great music which have helped them to become much more believable and popular among the viewers.
The Impossible 5 / 5
The Impossible is an incredibly moving film that had me in tears for most of it. I don’t think I’ll be able to write a review that could convey the emotion that this film stirs up, so I’ll just keep it simple and try my best to describe the brilliance in filmmaking and acting that feature in this film.
The Impossible follows the Bennett family as they deal with the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that hit Thailand on Boxing Day. The family is separated and their dream Christmas holiday has quickly turned into a nightmare as the Thailand coastline is now a graveyard and a violated landscape. Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts and Tom Holland were simply exceptional and immaculately convincing and believable in their respective roles. The Bennett family are split up and they frantically search for each other in tear-jerking fashion as each of them face shocking scenes of devastation that survivors called “beautifully accurate”. Tsunami survivors also felt compelled to respond to some cynical critics who complained about the “whitewashing” of this horrific event. They argued that these critics have missed the point of the film and the true story completely, which was the touching and profound sense of community and unity that was shown by visiting survivors and the local Thais.
This film is exceptional with every cast member delivering unbelievably authentic performances as they waded their way through the landscape blighted by the horrors that the tsunami brought. Every moment was perfectly framed that made me as a viewer invest into their story and the agony that they experienced in this tragic, emotional and incredible film.
There are umpteen moments where the viewer is brought to tears by the devastation that has decimated the local landscape and the horrific injuries that have affected people’s lives, for some indefinitely. Not to mention the scenes depicting the thousands of body bags that people had to look through just to make sure they didn’t see a face that they recognised. By not seeing them, they can keep holding onto the hope of seeing them again. An exceptional portrayal of the excruciating tragedy that happened almost a decade ago, but it will always seem fresh in the mind after watching this special film.