Alex Grant film review
totally stylized thriller
Tykwers new film taken from a script by deceased demi-god
of synchronicity Krzytzof Kielowski will elude complete understanding
unless you have a grounding in the films of Fritz Lang.
This German expatriate U.S. director had mastered an extraordinary
deployment of architecture and space as dramatic personae His existentialist
thrillers reveled in a fatalistic,paranoid world-view, wherein vast
criminal conspiracies between law-enforcement and mobsters [THE
BIG HEAT/ BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT/WHILW THE CITY SLEEPS] ruled
There is an even
greater debt within the imagery of HEAVEN and a more demanding a task
asked of the viewer : extensive familiarity with the religious icons
and imagery of Renaissance Art.
An evocative totally stylized thriller centred upon an amateur saboteur
[ Cate Blanchett] and the Italian policeman who aids her escape from
custody again think of Fritz Langs FURY or his YOU ONLY
LIVE ONCE; HEAVEN abruptly becomes a spiritual New Age/ Sewage melodrama
after an hour or so of intense suspense.
The final 25 minutes of this short film [less than 90 minutes] are an
hommage to Italian painters of the C16th and C17th eras. European architecture
has seldom played such a huge role in defining character and human interaction
as Tykwer allows it to do here. Beings dwarfed and trapped by spaces
both interior and exterior. Filmgoers today are largely unfamiliar with
such a subtle dramatic use of insensate features of the urban and rural
landscapes the exquitise blend of figures into landscapes.
Such a claim makes HEAVEN sound cold and heartless, which it is not.
The only recent film to accomplish this Langian juxtapositioning of
people and places is DARK CITY  by Alex Proyas, which was gravely
misunderstood and undervalued by the amateurs who dare to consider themselves
"critics" in Canada when they barely pass muster a reviewers
and industry-owned flacks.
Take a look at the archives of any daily newspaper of the past decade
and you will be astonished by the ignorance displayed on their film
pages whether local or national broadsheets and tabloids.
© Alex Grant October 2002
Now Showing in Tinseltown - Vancouver
ALEX GRANT Sunday
THE WEARYING COUNTERPRODUCTIVE STATE OF FILM REVIEWING
minute attention the reviews of Oscar-winning scenarist STEPHEN GAGHANs
atrocious directorial debut film ABANDON probably the very worst film
I have seen in my entire life dialogue that truly stinks, acting
that has no peer in inadequacy (Benjamin Bratt as a recovering substance-abuser
cop is less competent than Guy Smiley the SESAME STREET
puppet, all smirks and no charm) it dawned upon me that there are no
critics of film in Canada worthy of the title.
The Globe and Mails review of ABANDON on Friday, October 18th
2002 was so ill-judged and incompetent, .the mind boggles in disbelief.
Of course Roger Ebert of Chicago is everywhere.
The ubiquitous duke of avoirdupois, a legendary "heavy-hitter"
in his own mind, and a man mountain of utter mediocrity as a much-vaunted
reviewer. I refer to Roger as DWEEBERT.And everywhere he is THE NATIONAL
POST, THE VANCOUVER PROVINCE. His writing reeks of sell-out. How on
earth could this mediocre middle-brow justify KNOCKAROUND GUYS- a wannabe
Scorsese/Tarantino movie in which even the day-for-night cinematography
is inept? A gangster farce marked by such severe mood-swings it makes
the moody Frank Sinatra liks as sane as Mahatma Ghandi on Prozac.
Local reviewers in the Lower Mainland are no more reliable, insightful
or well versed in film. Some local wag in THE SUN on October 18th 2002
asserted that the U.S. remake of THE RING is the scariest horror film
since THE EXORCIST. Do these hacks know more than your average 10-year
old about their chosen field? In the same daily a while back there was
an attempt to justify THE FOUR FEATHERS, a film that had absolutely
no relevance to today and is treading water or rather sand
impotently for its unendurable duration.
Most informed readers
of THE SUN know that if their reviewers recommend film "X"
avoid it like the plague. THE BANGER SISTERS was highly recommended
in those pages for its script ! A scenario of astonishing banality and
I could enlarge
on this theme of the total inadequacy of film journalism at length,
but the Philistine know-nothing commentary wil no doubt
prevail. As used to be the adage about rocknroll writers:
people who cant write writing for people who cant read.
With film: people who cant see writing for people who fail to
see what is right under their eyes.
© Alex Grant- October 2002.
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