Category Archives: Expectations

Expectations: Bunraku

By Nathanael Griffis

 

I’m a sucker for Kung-fu action films. It doesn’t matter how many times someone pummels a sneering bad guy in the face I’m there. Add cowboys to the mix and it should be good, except that last time cowboys and ninja’s got together we were given The Warriors Way, so I feel like a guy who keeps going back to the same destructive girlfriend saying ‘It’ll be different this time’. It’ll be different actors perhaps, but will that equate to enough action to satisfy my face-pummel thirst.

 

Hypothesis (expectations)

Poster & Trailer: This is strange, normally there’s at least two or three alternative designs for posters, but this nope just the one choice. I’m digging pretty deep here to and there’s nothing really besides the plain design. The recipe goes like so: show your stars in a perfect billing phalanx, emblazen the title in Caps beneath,  insert action pose from star and Asian star, smother in blue. The boring poster proves worrisome, because the trailer boasts some engaging color palletes and strange paper art designs. After watching it I gather Ron Perlman is the bad guy. Josh Hartnett is a cowboy, Woody Harrelson is a bar tender. Demi Moore is pretty and there are two people I don’t know in it, but the movie is insisting I must. Gackt and Kevin McKidd are supposedly names of actors, but I’m still not convinced. The screenshots bring a little hope. The set’s look cool and like they’re constantly changing, so hopefully it’ll be pretty.

The Critics: 6.1 on IMDB and 16% on Rotten Tomatoes, so I’m confused. That discrepancy is only furthering my concern. People on IMDB can be weird, but there we very few reviewers on Rotten Tomatoes and they can sometimes be pretentious. In other news, while searching I discovered that Bunraku is actually a form of Japanese puppet theater. I then got lost in a Wikipedia article on Japanese puppet theater and lost track of what the critics said, so that should tell you something. It tells you I have a general disdain for critics opinions.  Yet serving as a critic myself, I’m at a loss recognizing the meta-critique I’m doing and expostulating on how boring critiques are I’ve tumbled into some philosophical condrum. What could possibly save me from all this thinking.

 

A drink perhaps

Sum Up: Face’s getting smashed that’s what. I need to see heads get chopped off, knees shattered, men thrown through walls, all manner of liquer bottles explode, chairs snapped like twigs and bad guys flying across the screen while screaming long extended vowel sounds. Yes that’s what I need to pull me out of my slump. Bunraku has a lot riding on it. If it fails, I’ll be left to ponder my ever disintegrating mental constitution. If it succeeds and entertains, I can continue on in my self-imposed wonderland, where people read what I write and care enough to make it worth writing.

Results (review)

There’s something ominous about all this I think.

The film opens with a Baz Lurhman freneticism that’s annoying in Baz Lurhman movies. To boot I think they went out and got the world’s worst movie-trailer-guy-impersonator to do the narration. The scratchy voice would sound more comfortable pouring out short little drawls like “In a world with no guns…”. Instead, the cigarette burned voice spews out the entire plot, which is extremely unfortunate, because the title sequence is stunning. The best thing about this film is the art direction, the sets, lighting, and transitions are worth studying. The way the story stays true to traditional Bunraku theater is impressive.

It frequently looks made of paper and focuses on hard lined geometric shapes that make it look like the sets where literally folded into place and the transitions between scenes would have us believe such. Guy Moshe’s (the director) use of lighting is stunning as well. He has an amazing sense of color and uses shadow to an exceptional effect. A fight between Harnett’s Drifter and Gackt’s Yoshe is almost completely stationary except moving shadows that give the appearance of a greater motion. The fight scenes are more akin to dances than brutal body count raising action. This was a pleasant surprise, but it didn’t feed my desire for sheer entertainment.

Here in lies the conundrum, from a film I expected little to no substance of story I got a touch more. There are some lines and plot moments that are well placed and give the story an edge. At other times the use of vulgarity intermixed with poetic dialogue is deliberately distracting. It’s as if the director will not allow his film to be taken seriously, which troubles me. I can’t decide if I like that or not. The characters are archetypes, yet small flaws and weakness give them just a touch of depth.  So I was pleased with the story to be honest, but that’s not what I turned to Bunraku for.

I wanted to see faces smashed and pummeled. I got that to some extent, but like I mentioned earlier the fights are more like dances than fights. They don’t get your blood pumping as much as they widen your eyes in an attempt to dazzle you. The opening fight is a let down, but sets the tone and by the end I was engaged, which is a credit to the film. Still I didn’t enjoy the first half of the film, because the action wasn’t entertaining enough. There are at least 15 fights in this movie and maybe 5 are worthwhile, but all 15 are beautifully staged with bizarre touches, Kevin McKidd as an Irish samurai being one of the strangest. It’s simply just a hard thing to buy a man with a thick Irish accent, a burgundy fedora, a dappled kerchief, goldenrod slicked back hair, a grey and lavender three piece suit, and plum set of glasses as a threatening master of bushido.

The rest of the cast is fine. Demi Moore supports nicely giving those around her motivation and stronger characters as a supporting actor should do. Hartnett is a convincing gruff drift. Gackt a good samurai. I’d buy a drink from Woody Harrelson anytime. And, give Ron Perlmen and axe, dreadlocks, and a beard and he’s a force to be reckoned with sure. It’s all these strengths and weakness that bother me though. I find myself on the seat of some horrible film lovers struggle. There really is this Yin and Yang of film, with entertainment & art both working against and betwixt each other.

Harnett waiting patiently for his fellow cast members to unfold.

With the end of each fight scene, and the sudden arrival of a transition that lifts us up from a city square to rising paper buildings that collapse as quickly as they were built to reveal the next scene, I would be both intrigued and disappointed. I had wanted some snarky comment to finish it off. I’d wanted to see more blood. More bad guys being pummeled, instead my critics palette had been fed with colors that washed over the story. The action becomes symbolic for the struggle within one’s self and good vs. evil in life, much like the simple stories of Bunraku theater itself. The sets are wonderfully built and amazingly utilized. The film refused in some ways to stay within a discernible genre, which is both praiseworthy and immensely frustrating at the same time.

Overall it’s worthwhile checking out and I mean that literally I don’t think you can simply watch this film. It is a feast visually for the eyes, but not action wise. It simply sports some of the best uses of light and color I’ve seen in a long time.

Analysis

Our expectations, may not have as much influence as I’ve thought. My expectations met or unmet didn’t change my feelings. Before the film I was in some silly overstated turmoil trying to work out the dichotomy of entertainment and critique. After I had watched the film that lens remained and I was stuck within those boundaries. My expectations don’t actually affect the film. They limit how I can interpret the film. How I can asses or enjoy something, and if something can be assessed for enjoyment. Going into a film without any expectations may give you a more honest sense of the film, perhaps. But the broader sense created by no expectations may also lead to an inability to describe it. If I hadn’t been struggling between entertainment and critique, I would simple have mentioned what was good and what was bad. I would have presented you with little more than a summary of what happened, returning to the dreaded book report of 4th grade.  Expectations provide a guiding lens that is necessary to engaging with film and that films demand of us. They may ruin a film entirely for us or, in some rare cases, provide a chance for us to dig deep into some unheard story and drag something revelatory out.

They may also provide a chance for some person with extra hours on a Saturday to type up extra words in an attempt to sound smart. Either way, I’ll be changing around that format for my upcoming expectations articles. I think it’s time we brought in a control. Up until now I’ve been testing the variables of my own expectations. It’s time I compared them to a viewer who has no expectations.

 

Expectations — Following

By Nathanael Griffis

Following is one of those cool-hipster-film-buff-cred movies that if you haven’t seen you drop down a few notches on the cool list. So that’s truly the reason I watched it. Had nothing to do with my love of neo-noir films or that this is Christopher Nolan’s first film. This is all about being popular and getting the cool critics to like me. Quick plot synopsis: Following is a bout a man who likes to follow people, but stumbles into a web of mystery and crime.

Look closely. See what I see? Was Nolan hinting at something?

Hypothesis (Expectations):

The Poster & Trailer: This movie is pretty minimal in its advertising and that’s to be expected with a small budget film from a first-time director. I’m surprised they even have a trailer, to be honest. So we’ve got the new trendy black-and-white, grainy film to make something look raw and old. Not a bad technique, Chris Nolan, but it’s been used a little too much, kind of contrived with a been-done feel to it. Oh wait, this was made in 1998. Okay, you can get a pass. It just seems like such a cliché to make your first film in black-and-white. It’s like you’re trying to prove you’ve seen old movies. There’s just enough in the trailer to intrigue me, but not really excite me.  I like neo-noir films like this, though, and have a lot of respect for Chris Nolan, so that’s a start.

The Critics: It’s got a 7.7 on IMDB and a 76% on Rotten Tomatoes. Eerily similar I say. Perhaps this is no coincidence. Either these are accurate ratings or there’s some evil critic mafia controlling the way we rate films. What if Battlefield Earth is actually good, but we could never tell because we’ve been brainwashed? Either way it’s safer to go with this movie being pretty good. Most comments and reviews about this movie compare it to Memento, but the trailer gives me more of a The Man Who Wasn’t There vibe. (How’s that for film-buff cred, huh?)  Most people seem to think it’s good, but not as good as Memento. I’m fascinated by sayings like this, because sometimes they spread like a virus and it becomes the only way to approach a movie. One or two critics’ little blurbs get out and that’s how we view a film. Use the phrase “better than Die Hard“ and it’s hard to look at a film in any respect other than, is it better than Die Hard? I should look into this more.

Sum Up: Well, now I don’t want to look at it like a Memento-esque film. I just want to watch it, but I can’t but be entranced by the idea of seeing a filmmaker at their roots. Watching someone from their start to their continued brilliance and maturity is fun.  I think I’ll get a serpentine plot that probably pulls a few punches and surprises, but all matches up together in the end. I don’t expect to be too confused, because I’m prepared to not have all the answers at first.

This shot might as well have come straight from The Third Man or Double Indemnity.

Results (The Review):

Just to get the obligatory answer out of the way, Memento is better. I know that’s all you all care about anyways. The non-sequential storytelling here feels more like a device to create confusion and make the surprise at the end more impactful. The brilliance of Memento is that the unique timeline makes sense and becomes a part of the story. With Following, it’s a means of keeping us in the dark, so we are constantly guessing at each turn. Ultimately, though, you won’t discover the truth till the end, which is what a good film noir mystery should do. The only caveat I have is that it should also keep you asking questions. It should not frustrate you because you know you won’t be able to discover the answer. Luckily, Following does just that. It parses up various pieces of the timeline and lets it all play out so that once you connect one piece, you wonder where the other pieces belong.

It’s perfectly paced and, to an extent, well shot and lit. I have no problems with the pacing. The way it’s shot is limited to the miniscule budget: $6,000. It shows that Nolan knows what he’s doing as a writer and a director. He didn’t push past what his budget dictated. He made a practical film story for very little and used the tools available to him. The black-and-white look fits well with the small budget, and the focus is the story telling. Nolan’s always done this, even when his films have staggering budgets like The Dark Knight and Inception: the focus is still the story.

After this shot, Alex Haw was never seen again, taking method acting to the extreme.

The only real complaint I have is that the film’s lead actor Jeremy Theobald is a little weak. There are just times he seems overly surprised, like he’s not used to having someone give him good lines to read, or he honestly doesn’t realize what’s happening around him. If the latter is the case, perhaps he was just acting genuinely and should have given his character a little more credit. Alex Haw, surprisingly, never went anywhere after this. Strangely, his character’s name, “Cobb,” would pop up later in Inception, so Nolan clearly likes that name, or is there something else there, hmmmm? It’s a good movie, and at just over an hour, a short watch. It’d be great if you’re a fan of film noir and want to see the beginnings of Chirstopher Nolan.

Analysis:

My expectations this time around served me well. If I had gone into this film expecting something different, maybe a little more action, a little more like Memento, I would have been disappointed. I could see some viewers becoming confused and frustrated with the format. I might have thought it was gimmicky and poorly put together if I hadn’t come in with the proper expectations, but knowing what I was about to watch prepared me to run through the maze. If you expect an unusual film that will challenge you, you can prepare yourself. If this type of film sneaks up on you, you might be more inclined to see it as a boring, cheaply made experiment.

(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)

Expectations — Tucker & Dale vs. Evil

By Nathanael Griffis

I love Alan Tudyk, so that was honestly enough for me to check out this movie. I think he’s got a great taste for genre comedy. So I continue this series with a story about a couple of hicks who are vacationing in their cabin in the woods and are attacked by preppy teenagers, thereby turning the “cabin in the woods” horror sub-genre on its head.

Hypothesis (Expectations):

The posters & screen shots:  The posters seem to feature Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk  holding either chainsaws, axes, body parts, or passed-out  scantily-clad women. Also they’re screaming and covered in blood. In a few of them we get some shots of Katrina Bowden in almost nothing, so it’s covering all the required bases. The screen shots again are frequently of Katrina Bowden wearing little to nothing, or covered in blood. So the director has either done his research or is a 14-year-old boy. Tyler Labine and Alan Tudyk seem to be in classic backwoods men gear and smothered in blood. The main thing that excites me here is that Labine and Tudyk are, from the screen shots, constantly screaming, which initially may mean nothing, but to me signals a contrasting switch. Normally in horror films it’s the female character who becomes the “scream queen” of sorts. I’m sure there will be a scene where Bowden screams, but to see the men exercise their vocal cords in such a manner already leans to an exciting spoof.  It also looks extremely graphic, which one would expect from a horror film.

The trailer: It just got a whole lot more exciting. The opening of the trailer is wonderful. It makes me expect an awful Friday the 13th or something, but as it progresses I start to see a complex and ridiculous plot grow out. There’s seemingly seven young preppy jerkwads that in a normal slasher would be chopped to bits, except here they’re accidentally killing themselves. There’s a scene where a kid jumps headlong into a wood chipper, which is just so ridiculous. What it really does, which I believe is what makes a good trailer, is it makes you want to see how everything play out. I wonder how they’ll make this whole ridiculous plot work. There’s only so many ways you can kill a teenager, which is often a fault of the slasher genre, before I get bored. Still in this case I’m excited to see these teenagers set afire, impaled, chopped, and slashed.

Didn't your mother ever tell you about running with chainsaws?

The critics: Tucker & Dale vs. Evil has an astoundingly high rating on RottenTomatoes.com, at 85% “fresh.” The Internet Movie Database has it at 7.6 stars out of 10. Metacritic, which just has to be different, seems to begrudgingly score it a 65 out of 100. In general, what I can glean is that everything seems to be resting on two things: the leads (Labine and Tudyk) and the concept.  Labine and Tudyk are appreciated across the board from what I can tell, and I love Tudyk, so no one better disagree.  The concept, on the other hand, seems to drag on for the few detractors, and for others is played for laughs. The idea of the teenagers’ plans accidently, in Wile. E. Coyote fashion, backfiring and causing their deaths could get old.

Peter Stormare gained a little weight... oh, wait.

Summary: You know, I thought I’d be super excited for this one, but honestly I’m a little wary. I’m not the hugest fan of gore, and the concept leaves me with questions. I’m excited to see things play out, but am worried it’ll become so contrived that it eventually succumbs to the same fault that the “cabin in woods” genre already has of focusing only on absurdly graphic death scenes.

Results (Review):

That was fun. If you like weed-whacker deaths, impalement, and friendship, then this movie is for you. The chemistry amongst the stars is great. Bowden stretched herself from usual 30 Rock schtick, nothing career changing, but she was charming and showed she has good comic timing.  Eli Craig’s direction is promising. It’ll be interesting if he stays within the horror genre. Tudyk and Labine should be in more films together, because they’re near a Simon Pegg-Nick Frost level of chemistry. Calm down people, I only said near. This movie does what good horror should, which is develop full characters and let the psychotic break out around them. Tucker and Dale’s bond of friendship is wonderful–you really feel like these guys have been friends forever.

The horror is great–contrived, but that’s to be expected in a film where eight teenagers accidentally kill themselves. It’s literally as if two friends and a pretty girl stumbled into a horror movie. The comedy is smart, there’s a lot of silly slapstick too if you like that, but for the most part the jokes come from clever dialogue. It’s a smart take on the horror comedy genre, probably most akin to Zombieland. I wasn’t blown away. It won’t “change the game.” This is a really fun horror-comedy movie that’s smartly written and well acted.

See told you there'd be an obligatory scream scene.

Analysis: Expectations are kind of disappointing in their own right. I think this movie fell afoul to the sneaky effect of expectations, that when they’re met we don’t know what to do with them. If something is worse than expected, I can critique it and rant. If it exceeds, I’m ecstatic and rant anyways. When I get what I expect, I’m left a little befuddled. I expected a funny, smart, gory horror-comedy with a touch of heart. That’s what I got, but I feel like I could have loved this movie so much more if it had been more surprising. So if I hadn’t had any expectations, this would have been wonderful. I blame all the work I did. The trailer gives away all but, like, three of the deaths, and not just hints at them, but it literally shows the entirety of the first death. So the joy of experiencing something new is taken away from me. It’s to this movie’s credit that it’s able to still be enjoyable. I just wish I hadn’t known what I was getting into and could have been surprised.

(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)

Expectations — Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

By Nathanael Griffis

Hyperbole is fun, but it’s also the cute girl that flirts with you at the bar for drinks and then says no to dinner. Not that I’m bitter or that that’s ever happened… Anyways moving on, sometimes I find myself getting carried away with how excited I get for a movie and use hyperbole. I might expect it to be another stupid romantic comedy with no depth and a waste of my precious time and then discover that The Notebook is a great movie. On the other hand, when all the trailers tell me a film is going to be the best comic book movie ever made and I really want Matthew Vaughn to be a good director, then sometimes our hearts are rendered to shreds of… I don’t know, X-Men: First Class was just bad, it didn’t really scar me.

My expectations and how they influence my viewing experience has always fascinated me. Do I like The Notebook more because I didn’t expect to like it, and because the depth or characters surprised me? Was the problem with X-Men: First Class my desire for it to be good or its failure to be good? Our expectations are powerful things, and don’t think for a moment studios don’t know this. That’s why trailers can sometimes be more exciting than the films themselves. If enough good buzz is generated about a film people will see it. On Buried Cinema we did an entire podcast that dealt with this issue after we saw Catfish. I’d sum it up for you, but then you wouldn’t watch the podcast. I will say this, though: the directors of Catfish are now horror directors. I’m happy for them, no doubt, but Catfish is a not a horror movie. The way the film was advertised, though, was almost like a horror film, and you can imagine that that comes with certain expectations.

How stupid am I, this poster clearly screams middling documentary.

What I’d like to do, from here on out, is look into those expectations and try and determine how they affect my film watching experience. I’m going to drown myself in introspective metacognitive processes (i.e., probably just babble a lot) and try to discern, if at all possible, some of the connections between what we expect from a film and how we then judge it.

How this’ll work is simple. I’ll watch a film I’ve never seen before, but before doing that I’ll analyze what advertisement I’m given: posters, trailers, clips of the film, screen shots, probably not everything but enough to get a gist of the film. Then I’ll see what critics have to say. What does the mighty Internet tell us about this film? Is it highly regarded? Is it the kind of film that divides friendships? Does it involve people staring at each other for hours? I’ll sum up my expectations into a sort of hypothesis. Then I’ll watch the film and say my piece. Consider this the results and analysis section, so now it’s got scientific pretensions.

To start us off I’m going with a movie that has a whopper of expectations for me personally: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.

My expectations: This’ll be a shorter article than the next few I suspect1 but perhaps deserves as much space as those that follow. The fact is I’ve been waiting for this movie for at least two years. After watching Let the Right One In, I was stunned that a film like that could be made. It was full of depth and perfectly crafted. There wasn’t a flaw in it. Every cut mattered, every performance was airtight and convincing. It transcends the sense that you’re watching a film and engages you in a shared experience. I know, I know, that all sounds very fluffy and as philosophical as it is nonsensical, but I believe it’s the truth and you won’t convince me otherwise. Although bribed with a cookie, I will gladly say otherwise.

It wasn’t long after that I heard Tomas Alfredson, who directed Let the Right One In, was working on an adaptation of John le Carré’s novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. I immediately went and told all my friends and it was at this point I began to suspect I am the only John le Carré fan under 50 years old. (These suspicions, by the way, were further indicated by the silver-haired audience I sat with tonight.) My friends did not care, but the fire for espionage and paranoia continued to bubble within my blood. Then mysteriously, casting began to leak: Colin Firth, Gary Oldman, Mark Strong, John Hurt, Toby Jones, Ciarán Hinds, Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Hardy. Clearly Britain has heard of John le Carré. It was like they were making this movie just for me. A stupendous trailer followed that told me nothing except that there was a spy, a mole, at the head of British Intelligence, and suddenly, with as much seemingly swift power as the anticipation had, there was silence and disappointment. My small upstate New York town was not deemed important enough to receive this gem of movie.

Best Poster Ever, nope, Best Poster Ever.

The time and waiting I think built up my expectations; it drove my thirst for a slow-paced, realistic spy thriller. Enough Jason Bourne. I wanted a real spy, an old tired man with a briefcase who goes over files and tapes photos to chess pieces, yeah sexy. Lack only strengthened my desire. It was like the theater deliberately didn’t want me to see this movie and, like a child being forbidden, my thought was that the verboten must by amazing, for all adults are selfish and want to keep all the fun to themselves. So I started to devise this theory. An idea began to creep up in my head. Hyperbole dripped down through my nerves till it fed every bone in my body. I was convinced, plainly, simply, deludedly, that Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy was the greatest movie ever made.

With all honesty those were my expectations going into the film. I was about to watch something that would leave Citizen Kane in the celluloid dust, a film that wouldn’t even blink at Raiders of the Lost Ark, a movie that redefined violence previously exposed in A History of Violence, a movie that struck my heart deeper than Singin’ in the Rain, a film that better understood the craft of filmmaking than WALL-E, something more eternal than Casablanca. So, not a big deal right?

The Result: The best movie of the year. One of the best films I’ve ever seen. But, the best movie ever made? No. Let’s return to the pretty girl metaphor. Forgotten it already because of my stirring prose, I’ll remind you. A pretty girl flirts with you, your hopes travel wildly down the path of the delirious lie that is the male imagination. A single thought drips down a stalactite in far reaches of your brain: perhaps. Perhaps what? Perhaps anything, and that is what is so engaging. This could be the one. She’s pretty smart… and she says yes to dinner. Then comes dinner and it’s wonderful. You have salad, she orders steak, it’s fancifully contradictory. The sad thing is it never really becomes all those amazing things your imagination thought up, does it? Still, it’s something worth treasuring. This film is like that.

Saying a movie is one of the best ever made, a Top 100 film, is not an insult, but it’s a long way from the best. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is, to review the film as a whole, astoundingly perfect. There is a haunting combination of cinematography and sound, a blend of acting and directing like I’ve never seen, and the sharpest editing and script this year or in several years. Alfredson does some amazing things with the camera. He on several occasions pulls back, which seems minute and a simple small choice, but it’s a brilliant subtle reference to the larger picture. We, like the characters, will at first only see a small glint of the truth, but once we stand back…well, you’ll come to realize that perhaps there is still farther back to step. Nothing is completely cleaned up or solved; most things are, but the loose ends and questions remain. There is still farther back we could step, but won’t or can’t. There is a limit to perception, and we have to content ourselves with such limits.

The film is not simple. It’s complex and realistic. There is no over-hyped Bourne tension. No globetrotting action scenes. These are quiet, nervous men with guns, reading books. My father said, as we drove from the theater, “They’re real spys: men getting killed over dangerous, boring things.” He’s right, and it adds a sense of realism to the film that is backed up by le Carré’s past as a commander in British Intelligence. The performances are the best I’ve seen all year. Each man is a unique picture of caged, controlled, and unleashed emotion. Gary Oldman deserves the Oscar, but if Brad Pitt wins I won’t throw a fit. I will, however, if Alberto Iglesias doesn’t win for his score and Tom Brown and Zsuzsa Kismarty-Lechner don’t win for their art direction.

I don’t want to give anything away, yet I suspect that even if I did it might still stand on its own. This is a film for film-lovers, and a film to make a film-lover out of you.

Analysis: So were my expectations met? No, but I think they impacted my view greatly. Trying to be unbiased with this film is impossible. I honestly cannot see any way I would have disliked this film. If something catastrophic, like a random car chase and Hollywood slow-motion suddenly crept up and ruined the film, I would have brushed it off as the producers’ fault. Excuses would have been made for missteps, and the film would have still ended up on my shelf. I just got lucky that it’s a spectacular film. It wouldn’t surprise me if my views aren’t agreed with, but I think I can chalk that up to the difference in expectation perhaps. A viewer expecting something akin to Jason Bourne, Ethan Hunt, or James Bond, will be befuddled when actions scenes are limited to a few frames. People expecting closure, but perhaps a sequel teaser at the end, will be grasping for answers to a serpentine plot that may come full circle or not. It’s a hard film to dislike, because I think expert artistry is simply noted and appreciated, but not free of the shackles of  bias and expectation. But are any?

 

1: I said this before I finished writing the piece, so this is probably how long they’ll be. If they’re not, I’m clearly even more of a pompous verbose ass than I think I am.

(Enjoying the Rant Pad? There’s more! Visit our podcast home page at BuriedCinema.com. Then you can also Like us on Facebook, Follow us on Twitter, Friend us on Flickchart, and Subscribe to us on YouTube!)