oh god, where do i even start with this one.
it's certainly one of the top films i'd watched for quite a while.
i'm just going to start rambling about stuff i liked.
Colin Farrell. when i first noticed that it's a CF film i was apprehensive, because i never really liked him as an actor, nor his movies (perhaps i'd just seen the wrong ones). well, i officially take it back. he strayed so far from his usual hotshot typecast, and actually performed admirably well. he's so mild. awkward. fat. meek. he put on 40 pounds for this role - that's commitment. as an actor, he operates on a very low emotional scale in this movie, and he sort of finds his range within that. in a film that deals with so many people who seemingly underwent soul sterilization, it's evident that he does feel - but it's like a dying flame. almost out, but not quite. i reckon that as an actor, it's fairly difficult to portray a three dimensional character in a world where the strongest response you'll ever see from someone, by a margin, is that of pain or fear of pain. but like i said, i thought he did it very well.
technically speaking, this movie is astounding. not astounding in a Game Of Thrones type way - but it's so incredibly rich, textured and nuanced. the cinematography is flawless. the whole visual style on this is arresting, creative, lyrical, and many times, poetically symbolic. i read that they almost exclusively used natural lighting (apart from like a scene or two at night), and that was such an intelligent choice, from an obviously intelligent filmmaker. it makes everything feel so earthy, toned down, and real. you can almost smell it. early on in the film, it triggered this strange ghost of a feeling in me of something i used to feel all the time, but don't anymore. i can't even put my own finger on it. it felt strange. anyway, it's beautifully composed. detailed and compelling. the sound work is top notch too.
oh yeah, another thing. people seem to treat this movie as a comedy, or comedy-drama. i think i caught some review stubs on rottentomatoes that called it "wickedly funny". this is unfathomable to me. yes, obviously it is absurdist in nature, and it sort of satirizes the way people seek out companionship in the modern age, but wow. fuck me. how on earth can this be funny to you? it is heavy, distressing, and bleak. it's like saying Black Mirror is hilarious. not every exaggeration of reality is comical by nature, and those reviewers are missing the point so bad, it's kind of impressive, really.
moving on. the script and storytelling work is way up there with the best surrealist works of fiction i'd ever watched or read. there's a rare abundance of quality ideas here, and that truly gives the whole story an inescapable, oppressive feeling of scope
and credence. usually when a story is that "out there", you can see the edges - you can see where it starts, where it's going, where it ends. how thick it is. like a backdrop. you can 'see' the creative process: the writer had a wonderfully strange idea, they put it to page, expanded upon it, fleshed it out into a bigger arc, etc. but here, what i thought would consist of the entire story arc, was basically only the first 1/3 of the movie. it continually develops and changes, and mercilessly introduces more and more rules and concepts to the dystopian world it lives in, and it all stays true to some bizarre inner logic that has this incredible gravitational pull. when the writing is not good enough (in other works, that is), you can always tell the cutoff point between where the original good idea ends, and the sewed-on additions begin. here it just feels like one continuous streak - like you'd been dropped into that terrifying world, given a glimpse, and then taken out once the film ends. this is like a much cooler, much more bizarre, and less dad version of a charlie kaufman script, basically. it has you exactly where it wants you - you get what's going on, you have a grasp on what's happening, but you're sort of running parallel to it. you never quite know where it's going to go.
i guess there's also something to be said about the way the movie denies the viewer of gratification, or feelings of catharsis. spoilers ahead: we never know what animal David turns the heartless woman into, we don't know what happens with the nosebleed couple after David lifts the veil off the lies their relationship is based on, and of course - the movie ends abruptly, and leaves the question of David and the blind woman's future completely unresolved. for a minute there i thought the sight of Colin Farrell gauging his eyes out with a steak knife is going to scar me for life.
my normal tendency is to want closure, i guess, but with every other facet of this film being so profound, i absolutely get it, and respect that it's a valid stylistic choice. in a negative world, where everything is seemingly backwards, why would it make sense to provide traditional closures? it's like looking at a diary either as a journal of things you choose to document, or alternatively, of the things you choose to keep out. in that way, it makes perfect sense. still though, i was sorry that it was over.
i could keep going. i should probably wrap it up.
oh yeah, one last thing: throughout the film, i couldn't help but think how i fucking love that this was a cork soaker rec. it makes so much sense, and i say that in the best possible way. there is definitely a link between your music and everything that this film is about, though i don't know if i can put it down into words. especially your last piece that i pm'd you about. i feel that the organic nature of what you do in order to produce your recordings (i.e not aiming for a specific end result, the process itself being the goal, letting things evolve on their own terms without 'interference') is sort of reflected in that movie in script form, if that makes any sense at all. the film is obviously more layered and incisive, but both send me to the same emotional space. like they're from the same world. thanks for this. if you managed to survive this embarrassing wall of text, i'd love some more movie recommendations from you.