Thursday, September 20, 2012

Requiem for a Dream and Lost in Translation

Requiem for a Dream (2001)

Requiem for a Dream was a movie that I had seen most of before a number of years ago, however, I thought it deserved a proper revisit. 

I wasn't crazy about the move while watching it, but when I looked back and thought about what I saw, the value went up. This movie is another case of raw but realistic acting, and while the plot was an integral part of the movie, the story was really subliminally told by the sites and sounds of the movie. 

The jump cut editing was fantastic in this movie, and made the scenes stand out as an experience rather than a visual. The premise of the movie is the effects of drugs on the lives of four connected people. The main characters: Harry Goldfarb (Jared Leto), Marion Silver (Jennifer Connelly), Tyron C. Love (Marlon Waynes) and  Sara Goldfarb (Ellen Burstyn) all experience something traumatic as their addictions take them to the brink of life. 

Now back to the jump cuts...They were artfully done in the movie. Everytime a drug was taken, a separate drug scene was shown. The hurried pace and noises of this rapid sequence made you feel like you were doing it with them. This clip will best explain what I'm talking about a few seconds in and then perfectly at the 44 second mark: 

My main gripes with the film are that it develops very slowly with the best parts during this time focusing on the mother, Sara. Her decent into schizophrenic madness is impressive work by Burstyn. The other characters shine in the last 20 minutes of the film as they begin to experience the cost of their actions. 

Overall, it's a very dark and slightly disturbing film that shows the dangers of drugs and recklessness. Overrated, maybe, but not really. I can understand why people feel that way. Watch the film with an open mind and pay attention to the detail rather than what's in front of you. 

IMDB - 8.4/10
TheSIBandGuy - 3.8/5

Lost in Translation (2003)

Having no idea what this movie was about except for the famous opening scene, I was pleasantly surprised. The entire movie is an extremely slow moving look into the lives of two completely opposite yet similar people. The stars of the film: an old sort of washed up actor, Bob Harris (Bill Murray), and a too young, bored married wife of a traveling photographer, Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), share a weird friendly romance while stuck in Japan.

Bob is in Japan to shoot commercials for a whiskey company while Charlotte is their with her "barely their" husband. Confined to sit around in her hotel room in a foreign country all day, she begins to venture into the hotel and runs into the unhappily married and terribly sick of the mundane actor Bob Harris.

After a number of small run-ins, they begin to hang out and go on a few nightlong adventures (never sexually implied) throughout Japan. When the time comes for Charlotte to return home, the departure is harder than anticipated.

The movie broaches the subject of emotional cheating, and relationship issues between young and old, did Bob take advantage of a lonely Charlotte? Interesting dynamics to digest in such a simple and straightforward movie. Sofia Coppola directed a movie as far from the spectrum of her famous father as you can think, and it worked. 

Overall a wonderful film that highlights the art of a strong dialogue and emotions. This movie is not for everyone, but if you are curious to see Bill Murray do something besides comedy, this is his opus. Johansson is also great as she was just getting into her own as an actress.

IMDB - 7.8/10
TheSIBandGuy - 3.7/5

I chose to group these two movies together because they deal with people who have no sense of identity. In Requiem, they use drugs to place themselves in a world devoid of responsibility and reality. In Lost in Translation, they use a "forbidden" romance to quell their own desires and escape their seemingly miserable situations.

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