Andrew Mobbs (mobbsy) wrote,
Andrew Mobbs

Films I haven't written about yet:

Grimm is a modern absurdist fairy-tale based on the Hansel and Gretel story. Two adult children, Jacob and Marie, from a poor rural household are abandoned by their father in the woods. First they meet the ogre-like farming family where Jacob is forced to have sex with the farmer's wife. After dispatching the horrible couple in a hilarious scene, and a couple of other misadventures, they magically travel to a far away land, namely Spain. There meet a charming surgeon, who Marie falls in love with, and stay in his sprawling hacienda. This provokes jealousy from Jacob, the relationship between him and Marie being mildly incestuous at times. It turns out that the surgeon doesn't have the best interests of Jacob at heart.

It's a amusing, very black, comedy, both the absurdist humour and some nicely observed class and national based humour. I'm not sure of the real situation, but from the film, it appears that there's still a fair amount of scope for national insults between the Dutch and Spanish dating back to the Spanish occupation of the Netherlands.

Code 46, directed by Michael Winterbottom (24 Hour Party People), is a near-future SF movie, somewhat comparable to Gattaca and Blade Runner. The main setting is Shanghai, which had recently been described to me as “looking like the set of a science-fiction movie”.

The plot itself isn't that strong, it's a sub-standard PKDish tale, examining the moral implications of both cloning and near-determinism from accurate genetic profiling. The world is divided into those with "cover" and those without, those with live comfortable modern lives, those without are like any of the have-nots that one meets on the streets of an Asian city today. Somebody has been fraudulently selling a major company's cover on the black market. An investigator is given an "empathy virus", which gives him preternatural intuition into other people, and is sent to discover who it is. Real human emotions intervene in his professional judgment, plot results.

What's very strong in this film is the near-future setting. There's very little that breaks the suspension of disbelief, despite a limited budget restricting CGI and other tricks. One sees futuristic cities, and the left-behind rag-tag people and dwellings, but don't see too much of other cars or lives that will look dated. There are a few neat tricks like ubiquitous display panels that work, and some that don't.

This is a good movie, certainly better than the IMDB reviews give credit for. It's not a great, neither quite have the edginess to become a cult classic nor the spectacular production to be a blockbuster success.

The Director's Cut of Donnie Darko explains a bit more than the original film. Possibly it explains too much. Reading up on the web afterward suggests that much of the added material is available as deleted scenes on the DVD release anyway.

I only saw the original film once, and my memory of it is of quite an ambiguous film, with more that one possible consistent interpretation of the events. The director's cut quite clearly details what's going on. Some of the added scenes are character background, some are exposition. I'm not sure if any were really necessary for the main film.

I'm not sure if I'd recommend the director's cut over the original release. Certainly seeing it for the first time had a greater impact on me, but it's difficult to judge from here if that was just because of the novelty. Possibly it depends if you prefer ambiguity or exposition for some of the metaphysics involved in the narrative. I suspect there's enough in the original to make sense if you know what the canonical interpretation is, but it may require careful attention to work out what that is.

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