Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Three quick movie-related comments.

1) I watched Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt" last night. This is actually a "make-up" viewing for me, since this film was part of the curriculum for my "film" genre class in college, but I was never actually able to watch it (though I sadly had to endure "The Graduate"--not fair).

In brief, it's the story of a family who welcomes a visit from a beloved relative, the mother's youngest brother, played by the charming and equally menacing Joseph Cotton. The lead actress in the film is the lovely Teresa Wright (Lou Gehrig's wife in "Pride of the Yankees"), who plays the family's grown daughter, who was named after her adored uncle. The girl learns that her uncle may in fact be a serial killer on the loose, and the film becomes a cat-and-mouse game, which the girl and her uncle each trying to gauge what the other knows and what they're willing to do about it. The stakes keep getting raised, until both lives are threatened.

The film's pretty good; not nearly as tight as "Rear Window" or "The Birds," but still gripping. However, I found myself rather uncomfortable throughout the movie by just how "beloved" the uncle was, especially by his niece. Even if he weren't obviously guilty from the very beginning, it would still be creepy how "close" she seemed to dear Uncle Charlie. I wonder if this feeling is simply a product of the times I live in now as the viewer, or if even sixty years ago Hitchcock was tapping into an uncomfortable incestuous subtext. Something to consider. If you've seen the film, lemme know what you think.

2) The website "How It Should Have Ended" is awesome. Here's the latest, a complete revision of "Spiderman III":

3) If you haven't seen the film "Reign Over Me" with Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle, you really need to watch it (it's on video October 9th), and bring your hankies. High recommendation. However, if you haven't seen it, don't read the rest of the post.


I just found out something that deepens my appreciation of the film, and my respect for the writer and production designer. Throughout the film, Charlie (Adam Sandler) is obsessed with playing the video game "Shadow of the Colossus." He often gets lost in playing this game for hours, as does his friend Alan (Cheadle). But do you know what the game concept is? I just found this out.

As the game begins, the main character is carrying the lifeless body of a woman into a temple, and a voice tells him that she may be brought back to life, but only if he rids the land of the colossuses (colossi?) that have brought evil upon the kingdom. The hero's job is to go find and destroy each colossus, in the hope that by doing so, this woman (we don't know their relationship at first) may be brought back to life.

What a brilliant and poignant metaphor for Charlie himself. It's as if he thinks that by playing this game over and over, nonstop, he may somehow defeat the "colossus" in his own life and bring his wife and daughters back from the dead. Whenever he's confronted by something uncomfortable, he runs home and retreats into the world of the game. In a world that doesn't make sense, he finds comfort in the linear, clear world of the game where he is able to "do something about it."

I find that to be a tremendous plot point and story choice that casual fans with no familiarity with the game would miss completely while still enjoying the film. Bravo to the writer/director and production designer for adding that bit of depth.

No comments: