Igby Goes Down (2002)
Watch this film if you are an ACTOR
Mood of the film : HONEST
Overall Score 8.5/10
It’s rare to find a film, even amongst the ones you love, that captures your attention for every minute of runtime. Igby Goes Down did that for me.
Effectively following the template laid out for it by Catcher in the Rye Igby, played by Kieran Culkin, is yet another teen from an old money family, gallivanting around New York, after escaping from military school. Thrown in are elements like the benefactor step-father, the gay artist, the drug-addicted dancer and the dream girl who always has the right response to keep our teen rebel in check. We’re visit the Hamptons, of course, and there’s plenty of drug abuse and love affairs; everything we need and have seen before. This film should feel tired but instead, it has everything going for it.
It starts with a brilliant opening. From there, the next ninety minutes are filled with very effective, time-conscious storytelling. The tone is set brilliantly by the score. Some might find that clever edits peter out quite quickly, though I hardly noticed while watching. By the time the editing takes a step back, the characters are primed and ready to carry the storytelling all on their own backs. Writing certainly has its part to play there. It’s the type of cult film that has a lot of sharp-witted one-liners, making it easily quotable; the type of film only made better by watching it with a group of friends.
To properly criticise any part of it, it does suffer from perhaps more plot-convenience that is healthy, if it wants to avoid triggering the cynical mind of a critic. The world revolves around Igby. Everyone seems inexplicably drawn to him. He meets the perfect person he needs at exactly the right moment, even if he’s just sitting on the street. What makes Igby Goes Down real though, is that the people themselves are far from perfect. That’s not exactly a shock for this type of story but what is, is that not one character feels damaged for the sake of being damaged. A rare feat, especially by today’s standards of making characters damaged because everyone needs a thing.
For all its sardonicism and irony, when Steers flips the switch to raw emotion, it always hits home. Culkin deserves every bit of praise for delivering that with his performance, especially, but there isn’t a single performance here that doesn’t command you to buy what the film’s selling.
Almost assuredly, the characters wouldn’t feel as believable if it weren’t for the strength of the actors in their roles. Everyone’s playing to types here: Culkin is the sarcastic cynic, Ryan Philippe is the posh twat, Jeff Goldblum is the eccentric millionaire and Susan Sarandon is the queen bitch! But that all adds to the naturalism of their performances and makes the moments where they do step out of those archetypes truly shine. Igby may lie constantly but the film is never ingenuine.
The Vanishing of Sidney Hall
Watch this film if you are an CINEMATOGRAPHER
Mood of the film : POIGNANT
Overall Score 7/10
One of the themes in this story may be about disappearance, but Sidney Hall is a film that will stick with you way past the credits. The film follows ‘Sidney Hall’, a young aspiring writer who progressively becomes more and more detached from the real world, eventually resulting in his sudden disappearance. Logan Lerman (“The Perks of Being a Wallflower,” “Fury”) delivers an emotional and responsive portrayal of the distant and misunderstood Hall, especially during a number of touching scenes with his reserved love interest ‘Melody’, played by the always enthralling Elle Fanning (“The Neon Demon,” “The Beguiled.”) For the noticeably limited material and character development that is evident, the performances bring a level of tenderness amongst the dark and poignant tone.
The cinematography in this film is completely captivating, enough so to keep you invested through the slightly perplexing yet intriguing time jumps that happen throughout the film, notably the strongest aspect alongside the performances.
While the story itself has a few moments of weakness and unfortunately predictable outcomes, the themes of guilt, distress, and ever relatable feeling of being utterly and completely lost, are presented with total compassion and empathy.
Overall, The Vanishing of Sidney Hall, is an intriguing and mysterious film, that just like Sidney, is a little misunderstood, but ultimately offers an inviting and alluring escapism into a secretive but authentic world.
A Clockwork Orange
Watch this film if you are an PRODUCTION DESIGNER
Mood of the film : VIOLENT
Overall Score 8.5/10
Firstly it is important to understand this film is extremely violent, within the first 10 minutes a homeless man is beaten. If violence on screen doesn’t appeal to you I don’t recommend this film.
However Kubrick has rightfully earned the title of ‘ A Clockwork Orange’ becoming a cult classic.
The audience follow Alex (Malcolm McDowell) the local thug, partaking his daily tasks and lifestyle. His gleeful narrative throughout aims to shock with his day to day containing ultra violent scenes. Alex appears to indulge in these acts making us as a audience cringe and fear his psychopathic laugh when he is committing them. Malcolm’s performance is suitably grotesque and exaggerated leaving space for the audience to loathe and observe.
The sets are outstanding presenting a futuristic world, mirroring the shocking and outlandish script. The costume design is iconic; today the style lives on worn by countless statement musicians. Overall the legacy that this film has left makes it worth watching and allows you to feel shock like no other film.
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