Have seen some good, and some strange movies lately. A most unusual movie is The Symbol (Shinboru). This movie has very little dialogue. But it just proves that non-verbal communication is as powerful as any other. Written, directed, and starring Hitoshi Matsumoto, it starts with a man alone in a large white room. You don't know what the hell is going on, but it all comes together in the end. And what an ending it is. It is as if you have been let it on a bigger secret, which nobody knows of yet. In short, an extremely creative and dont-give-a-dam director has been able to pull this off with aplomb.
The Great Debaters, is based on a true story, and explores the struggle of black people in 1930s America. An idealistic college professor at Wiley College, inspires and trains four young black students to debate against white students, in colleges across the United States. On a deeper level, it is about their search for identity, their fight for equality, and their need to be heard. The movie is a little predictable, and not as inspiring as it could be, but still, worth a watch. It is filled with interesting quotes from literature, and allusions to Gandhi.
True Grit is by one of my favourite movie-makers, the Coen Brothers. Based on a book, it's a touching story of a young girl's search for her father's murderer. She teams up with a US Marshall, and the movie is about their adventures together. Set in old-time America, it is slow in parts, but definitely worth a watch. Yet, it is not as brilliant as the Coen Brothers' other films. A Serious Man is a brilliant one, a combination of wit, sarcasm, and just plain randomness. Centered around an American suburban character, set in the late 1960s, it involves his wife, kids, neighbours, colleagues, and his thoughts and reactions to all of these. Only Coen Brothers can take the most everyday things, and make them so interesting. Who needs fiction, when life itself is so rich in beauty?
The Coen Brothers' crowning masterpiece has to be No Country For Old Men. It's a hair-raising, excruciatingly suspenseful film. A hitman is on the lose in Texas, and the murders get increasingly cold-blooded, random and bold. It's not the actual killing that kills you, but the danger and suspense. Without too much of a show of blood or gore, the audience experiences the very real terror that a serial killer inspires. You can feel the cold hand of the murderer somewhere around you, while he silently and menacingly swings his axe. You can never actually be rid of his clammy and frightening face, with its deadpan eyes. The movie has a strange ending, but it's probably the most appropriate one.
With A Serious Man, you are going to get some laughs. With No Country For Old Men, you are going to be looking over your shoulder for a couple of days, or weeks, depending on how jittery you are. The Coen Brothers are masters of making you feel things that you can't really express later. Their movies defy description. If anyone can express movies in just words, why go through the effort of making the movie? Some may find them a tad violent, but Coen Brothers tells it like it is. As an old man says in the film, "You can't stop whats coming."
Thats it for the movie updates.