So it begins.
Oh, I’ve been waiting for a film like this. I’m going to rip this apart like a stray dog going at a T-bone. I’m going to pan Pan, bury Barrie, and right Wright’s wrongs.
In fact, I did so just after seeing it, in a series of texts to my friend Maggie. I originally just wanted to use screencaps of this conversation as illustrations for my review, but since they were written based on my fresh impressions of the film, I’ll use them as the foundation of my review.
And let me just say: thank you, Maggie, for wanting to hear more.
Apologies for not posting more in recent days. Last weekend I was out of town without WiFi, and this week has been exceptionally busy. Ideally, the days to come will be a bit less stressful.
Here’s what I’d like to have up for Monday:
Well, this is obviously the trailer everyone’s talking about.
It would be wrong to deny the world my thoughts.
For the first time in a while, I sit down to write a review without knowing what rating I’ll give the film in question. Mississippi Grind, in evoking the low-key, ambiguous character pieces of the 70s, could end up at any one of several places along my critical spectrum. Of course, it could be argued I get a little too tied up in those five stars and 100 points, but I’ve been applying them to films for years now, and it’s not like Mississippi Grind is the kind of game-changing film to break the pattern. (If anything, the film which has most defied my scale has been Kirk Cameron’s Saving Christmas.)
One might say it’s an unshowy film about showiness. Or a con film without a con. It’s the kind of film which had me waiting for the other shoe to drop, but it rarely does in quite the way I expected. I don’t think it quite packs that extra punch to make it a great film, but it is without doubt a good one.
Of the two 3D spectacles which have recently bowed in theaters–both initially given exclusive runs in 3D theaters–I may be alone in saying Everest is the superior film; The Walk has the benefit of better reviews, though it has oddly proven less lucrative at the box-office.
Given the great success of the documentary Man on Wire seven years ago, some have claimed that this is a rather superfluous film, and on some level that may be true, but in its own right, it’s a solid, light-hearted entertainment, and even Joseph Gordon-Levitt’s French accent passes muster–words I feared I would never type.
After impressing me greatly with the haunting Prisoners and the marvelously maddening Enemy, I was eager to see what Denis Villeneuve would do next. Then, this opened at Cannes, to solid but not outstanding reviews, and the trailers failed to truly excite me. So my level of anticipation dropped accordingly. Then subsequent reviews proved more favorable, so much so that it now sits at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes–and I thought Villeneuve might have done it again after all.
I should have trusted my initial reaction. While not a bad film by any means, Sicario lacks a real reason for existing, and fails to say much about cartels or the War on Drugs that hasn’t been said before, nor does it feature such compelling characters or such dazzling craftsmanship as would compensate. It’s well done in most every aspect, but never takes that vital leap into being something special.
(NOTE: I also saw The Martian this weekend, and quite liked it, but I’d like to see it again before writing my review.)