Monthly Archives: March 2012

Game On

Clearly, The Hunger Games is one of those movies Doug and I should have had one of our patented movie conversations about because much as I might enjoy going blow for blow with Doug, I imagine it’s getting pretty old for you, our dear readers.  Besides, a blow for a blow never settles the score (yes, that was a little Flobots for you).  Anyway, as Doug said, there really is no point in trying to convince somebody that a film has value when he clearly already has his mind made up that it doesn’t.  But I had a novel thought, what if I actually reviewed the film?  Maybe some of you would decide to go see it.  And then, maybe you would decide for yourself what you think the movie means and what worth that message has.  After all, isn’t that what all these dystopian stories are really about; not being a follower and making up one’s own mind?  As Bruce Springsteen once said, blind faith in your leaders or in anybody will get you killed.  So read the review, check out the movie, and then let us know what you think.  Is Hunger Games a modern reimagining of a Lord of the Flies-esque story where primal instincts and human indifference threaten to overwhelm love, loyalty, and basic decency or, as Doug suggests, is this a simplistic sketch of a dystopian society that never delves deep enough to really make the themes soar?  We’d love to know what you think!

So, on to the movie.  All right, to be clear, The Hunger Games is not exactly rocket science.  The story goes that a tyrannical government punishes and subjugates a once rebellious people by forcing each of its twelve districts to offer up two tributes, one male and one female between the ages of 12 and 18, to compete in the Hunger Games.  The games require survival skills and a certain amount of blood lust as it is a battle to the death and the last person standing wins.  The story follows Katniss, one of District 12’s tributes, who volunteers for the games to protect her sister, Prim after her name was drawn in the crap lottery.  Alright, so that’s pretty straight forward and, as has been mentioned before, writer Suzanne Collins borrows liberally from some other classic works.  But I actually think that, for a movie with a target audience that has grown up in a culture saturated in reality TV, competitive sports, and Call of Duty-esque video games, the idea of making this struggle for survival a competitive, fight to the death, game was a pretty ingenious way to repackage a few older themes.  It’s novel, but still wrapped in the relatable reality TV/Olympic competition veneer and she gets points from me for coming up with a completely modern and timely plot device.  As to the presentation of this story on the big screen, well, it probably isn’t as good as the book, which I’ve only just started reading, but how many movie interpretations of a book ever completely satisfy the fans of the books?    Remember the ruckus over Peter Jackson cutting Tom Bombadil from The Fellowship of the Ring?  I do and it was bad, but fans of the book came around.

I would agree that some of the performances are spotty, but the reality is that much of the focus of the film is on the indifference towards their fellow humans that this society has come to accept.  They don’t value each other and there seems to be only two extreme types of people; the haves in the capitol who are drowning in opulence, but are, apparently, entirely superficial, and the miners, farmers, and other blue-collar have-nots who are simply struggling to make it from day-to-day.  Maybe performances by those playing these characters failed to achieve depth, but that’s probably because there is no depth to be achieved.  Where it counts though, the actors pretty much hit the nail on the head.  Woody Harrelson as Haymitch, the two district 12 tributes’ mentor, is an alcoholic, but it becomes clear as the film progresses that there’s a reason for that.  Haymitch won the games twenty-some years earlier.  That means he competed against 23 other young men and women and watched them all die; he probably even had a hand in the deaths of some of them.  If that’s not enough to drive a man to drink, I don’t know what is.  In response, he settles uncomfortably into the indulgent lifestyle offered in the capitol and drinks himself into a stupor until he meets Katniss and her fellow tribute from District 12, Peeta.  You see Haymitch come to life, start to really care about the fates of these two teens and that is important when he’s surrounded by so many who have stopped caring about anyone but themselves.  Stanley Tucci is also notable as the talk show host that I believe was modeled on Oprah Winfrey – if she were white, male, had blue hair, and was sort of maniacal.  He asks a lot of “how did that make you feel” type questions with a sort of zealousness that makes it clear that it’s all about ratings.  Meanwhile Jennifer Lawrence gives us as detailed a performance as playing an almost superhero will allow.  She’s energetic, emotional, and, well, human, which is in stark contrast to pretty much everyone in the capitol, the residents of which come off as something a little inhuman, but deliberately so.  Josh Hutcherson as Peeta is a little more inconsistent; he’s strongest when he’s playing to the crowd, recognizing that Peeta’s only shot at winning is to garner favor with the sponsors.  Unfortunately, the chemistry, if I can even call it that, between Hutcherson and Lawrenece is pretty much non-existent and that does make the end of the game a little hard to swallow.  As Doug notes, most of the other characters are mere sketches or outlines, never really colored in, but I think that’s entirely intentional.  The story focuses on, at best, the indifference that most of society has towards the competitors in the game or, at worst, their murderousness.  The entire society is complicit in allowing an entirely inhuman competition that results in the death of 23 young people every year to continue.  Doug likes to say people are complicated and I expect part of why he didn’t like or relate to these people is because they aren’t.  Most of the society in Panem – the name given to the new North American society – including many of the competitors in the games, are simple and self-indulgent and that really is all there is to it.  If you try to read more into it than that, I’m afraid you will only find yourself frustrated.  But the more simplistic and inhuman the people living in the capitol are, the more it heightens the humanity of Katniss and her few sympathizers, Haymitch, Cinna, and Peeta.  Overall, the movie really isn’t that complicated and for pure entertainment value, it was fun to watch while presenting some interesting themes to a wider market than your Brave New Worlds or Animal Farms are ever likely to reach.  On a scale of “I want my money and two hours back” to “pay full ticket price to see this one on the big screen,” I’d say this is worth the price of a matinée ticket.  It’s a good-looking flick with some interesting themes and nice action sequences that are worth seeing on the big screen, but on one thing I will agree with Doug, it probably could have done more.

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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in Reviews


The Hunger Games- No More Party Poopin’

Just when I thought I was out, she pulled me back in!!!!!!

This movie review/conversation stuff is all getting very serious, isn’t it people? I promise you that Sarah and I will be reviewing movies at some point purely for their entertainment content. Really, it will get fun. But trying to convince each other what we do and don’t understand about the movies we do and don’t like is big fun, too.

I figured I had two options in relation to Sarah’s explanation for why The Hunger Games was a good movie. I could either shrug my shoulders and say, “OK” and shuffle along down the road. Or I could be Doug and engage.

Since I’m Doug, I am choosing to engage.

In fairness to Sarah, I probably should have been more specific about what I needed some ‘splaining about. Because while her breakdown of how The Hunger Games mirrors classics such as Orwell’s 1984, Huxley’s Brave New World and Carrey’s The Truman Show was spot on, I kinda, sorta already got that part of it. Throw in a dash of, as she mentioned, Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery”, “The Most Dangerous Game”, maybe a sprig of Golding’s Lord of the Flies, Orwell’s Animal Farm and, more recently, the Japanese Battle Royale, and we’ve got a pretty good rundown of what The Hunger Games picks and chooses from as source material.  While I will admit to never having read Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, much to Sarah’s surprise I think we may have had the same reading lists in school, because everything else she mentions I have read and almost all the way down the line, enjoyed a lot as a kid and teen. “The Lottery”, which I will mention in a bit, was a personal favorite of mine in middle school. In fact, my wife and I were out after seeing The Hunger Games and I told her maybe I would go home and read the far better version of Hunger Games, “The Lottery”. A truly brilliant short story.

The irony of Sarah mentioning the laundry list of works that The Hunger Games is based on is that part of my disappointment in the movie was that the stuff she mentions is all so much better and deeper than The Hunger Games (I will continue to reiterate throughout that I’m talking about the movie, not the books). Again, she mentioned “The Lottery”. It’s the first thing I thought of after seeing the movie. The writer of that story, Shirley Jackson, funnily enough talked a lot about perceptions after the publication of that story. She told stories of the letters she received after writing “The Lottery”, and how she was amazed at how almost universally the early letters regarding the story completely missed the points she was trying to make. Jackson talked about how people were infuriated by the dark message they saw in the story, while missing the larger themes entirely. So, I apologize to the makers of The Hunger Games, Installment One if I didn’t get it, and I promise not to write them any hate mail.

We’ve established that The Hunger Games takes from a lot of stuff. It’s not the point of the story, or what it’s supposed to be “about” that I needed some ‘splaining on, though. In fact, after seeing the movie, I would actually be moderately interested in reading the Hunger Games books, because I could see some very, very faint sketches of pretty interesting themes that I would imagine are better explored in the book than in the movie. No, what I need some explaining about was why the movie didn’t do a better job, or maybe the ways the movie did do it better that I missed. My problem was that the movie barely connected me to the characters. There was just so little emotional investment. My sister reacted to my comment about wanting to take a shower after seeing the movie with a perceptive response. Which was, that’s pretty much how you’re supposed to feel after seeing this installment. And I get that. Again, I assume the story ends in overall redemption and comeback for the repressed. The more disgusted you feel with the situation, and the more connection you feel with the oppressed, the more uplifted you feel when they finally overcome. I’m not being sarcastic here, these are classic themes that done well are usually right up my alley.

The problem for me is that I didn’t feel like I wanted to take a shower because I was disgusted by the world the characters lived in or because of what was being done to them. In the end, I wanted the shower because I felt like, not completely but to a large extent, there wasn’t enough done to make me feel anything for any of the characters or their plight, other than to a very tiny extent Katniss. For me, the movie largely failed in coloring in the details, so all I really had left was a bunch of faceless kids being plunked down to kill each other. I know there is more to come in future installments, but watching this first installment purely on its own terms, it had me feeling like The Hunger Games was uncomfortably closer to, say, Stone Cold Steve Austin in The Condemned (go ahead, look it up) than it was to 1984 or “The Lottery”. Or even The Running Man. If that’s all the movie was shooting for, OK, I’m over analyzing it. But I’m pretty sure it was trying to get across a lot more than that.

It largely comes down to perceptions and points of view and here is where I did get something out of Sarah’s response. She made some great points about the similarities between A Separation and Hunger Games. Sarah did not necessarily dislike A Separation, but her reaction to that movie was different from mine largely, I think, because she is bothered on some level, generally, by movies that present people who “settle” or “give in” to their situations. I would counter by saying that the point of A Separation is that most people, most of the time do the best they can and aren’t giving in or rationalizing but simply battling the best they know how. Not all situations are created equally and sometimes a person’s best isn’t perfect or even good enough. Not everyone can shoot an apple into a wall with a bow and arrow from 100 paces. But the point here is that, really, neither one of us misread A Separation. We’ve simply reacted to it differently. There’s no way we can “convince” each other to see it any other way than how we saw it. There aren’t “right or wrong” answers when it comes to this stuff.

So while I disagree with Sarah’s take on A Separation, I completely understand it. When it comes to The Hunger Games, I get why she compares The Hunger Games to all the stuff we all read in high school. There are similar themes there. But I don’t get out of her response why The Hunger Games actually deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as all of this other stuff quality wise. I know what the themes are, but what actually makes the first Hunger Games movie (which is what we’re talking about, not The Hunger Games books, just this first movie) effective in presenting those themes? And if the answer is that I have to wait for the next three movies, well isn’t that a clever way to get an extra $30 out of me?

In the end, to a large extent, The Hunger Games is the old story of everything old becoming new again. Maybe I’m just an old codger that thinks “my” version of this stuff, like “The Lottery”, is better and can’t be topped. This type of writing done for teens is always more exciting when you feel like you are discovering it for yourself the first time. For sure, I wouldn’t be as affected reading “The Lottery” for the first time today. And twenty-five years from now this story will be rehashed and the kids of today will say, “This sucks compared to The Hunger Games.” I’m probably being too hard on this movie. I probably hoped for too much. So, I’ll just chill out and stop being such a party pooper. It’s still a super cool phenomenon, and cool that kids and teens are so into a story that in the end, I assume, presents an uplifting, you can do it message. Remember, kids, never give in to The Man. And particularly for young girls, what could be wrong with having a character like Katniss to attach yourself to?

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in General Film, Reviews


The Hunger Games – Here’s What!

Well, Doug requested an explanation and I am here to help.  When the movie concluded, the first thing Doug said was, in fact, “I need a shower.”  My one sentence response was a proclamation that The Hunger Games was a combination of The Truman Show, Nineteen Eighty-Four, and Brave New World.  I wasn’t joking.  It fails to achieve the classic level of the Orwellian novels that I was compelled to read in high school, but if somebody had started chanting “kill the pig” at some point, I swear I would have started to have myopic teen flashbacks.  That being said, times change and so do kids and what they relate to.  Like Doug, I haven’t read the book, though the first in the trilogy has been lying on my dining room table for days, but I think Suzanne Collins and the other writers who worked on the screenplay, did essentially what they set out to do.  I think it is accurate to say that Doug appreciates the subtleties in movies and when someone takes a message and pummels the audience about the head with it, the message may get lost in the general cacophony, but the point of The Hunger Games was not the increasing callousness that we have grown to accept in our entertainment; the point is the increasing callousness we have grown accustomed to in each other.  At least that’s what I got from the film, but then, maybe I am an Hunger Games apologist.

Considering that Doug gave a pretty accurate account of the actual goings on in The Hunger Games, I feel compelled to talk a little more about the story and how it conflates so many dystopian universes I have read about and seen portrayed in films over the years.  First off, even without reading the book, I have read this story before and you likely have too.  If you’ve read George Orwell or Aldous Huxley – as I was required to in school – then you have read a better version of this story.  If you watched the movie 1984, you have essentially watched this movie.  Or better yet, perhaps you, like me, were required to read the rather horrifying short story “The Lottery” in junior high.  “The Lottery” has almost the same plot as The Hunger Games; in order to secure a good harvest, a small town holds a lottery to pick a tribute to . . . who knows what, I suppose the god of good harvests, and then the townspeople stone the lucky winner of the lottery to death.  There’s also “The Most Dangerous Game” in which a big game hunter gets bored with hunting animals, moves to an island where he can capture sailors and, once they are caught, he releases them onto his island and hunts them for sport.  If they survive for three days, he releases them, but as the story opens, he’s never had anyone survive for three days.  Probably, the most similar thematically to The Hunger Games, is Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four, in which a war-mongering society is ruled by the cultish personality “Big Brother” and the  “thought police” crack down on anyone who so much as thinks against the government.  Similarly, to The Hunger Games, the world in Nineteen Eighty-Four is split into only a few factions, Eurasia and Oceania being the two at war in the book, and the people are distracted from their terrible and oppressive lot in life through perpetual war and government propaganda, much like the districts in The Hunger Games are cajoled into subservience through first, the threat and then, the pageantry of the Games and everything that comes with them.  The main character in Nineteen Eighty-Four, Winston is eventually arrested and undergoes reconditioning by the “thought police” after falling in love and starting to, most likely impotently, plot against the government.  His reconditioning, of course, mainly consists of torture, both physical and psychological, until he eventually betrays the woman he loves, telling his captors to torture her instead of himself.  That is the goal of the “thought police”; to torture love right out of Winston and the next time he sees his love, Julia, he holds nothing but contempt for her and she for him.  They loathe each other and Winston has been so thoroughly brainwashed that he believes he has won over himself, conquering his “sickness”, and becoming loyal to “Big Brother.”  If you want cynical, horrifying, and soul crushing, Orwell is your man and Ms. Collins ain’t got nothin’ on him.  I say this all only to say that I have heard that kids are now receiving The Hunger Games as assigned reading in school and, as compared to what I read in school, I have to say, The Hunger Games was positively uplifting.

That is why it was most interesting to me that, when we left the theater, Doug described The Hunger Games as perhaps the most cynical movie he had ever seen.  I can only assume that he has not watched 1984.  I found Doug’s passionate dislike for The Hunger Games curious, for a lot of reasons, and gave it some thought after we left the theater.  It’s interesting to me that Doug could name a movie like A Separation as his favorite film of the year, but then say that if he had gone to see The Hunger Games alone, he probably would have walked out.  The opposite of cynicism is optimism and it is not like A Separation was brimming over with optimism.  In fact, in my opinion, A Separation is probably the least hopeful movie released in 2011 or so far in 2012.  Not that I wish to get into another The Tree of Life – style standoff with Doug, but he and I do disagree a little on the judgments, or lack thereof, made in A Separation.  For me, too often, the movie presented characters who either did not know how to or chose not to make their situation any better.  They are struggling only to try to present themselves in the best light and never to take responsibility or seek a resolution to their situation.  At a most basic level, the overarching elements in A Separation and The Hunger Games are quite similar and so it did boggle my mind a little that Doug had such a negative reaction to The Hunger Games – a film that I found to actually be somewhat hopeful and certainly more optimistic than the dystopian society presented in the classic 1984.  Given Doug’s reaction to The Hunger Games, I can only assume that had he gone to my high school, he would have dropped out – or been the cleanest teenage boy ever in existence – solely because of the assigned reading.  The bottom line is that A Separation and The Hunger Games left me pondering the same question; how did these people let it come to this??  And that is exactly the point.  In both films, you are dealing with stifling and oppressive regimes that maintain power through rigid and unrelenting control that we would like to think Americans would never allow ourselves to be subjected to.  But like Orwell and Huxley before them, author Suzanne Collins and filmmaker Asghar Farhadi use their own points of view to try to present people actually in that “dystopia” and remind us all that, when you’re in it, all you want to do is survive.  That’s a very human inclination and, I think, usually a pretty good one.  However, whereas A Separation presents an all too real world with characters who respond to their conditions with the despondency of a resigned nation, The Hunger Games, the first part in an obviously fantastical trilogy, presents some stirrings of the human inclination to fight on, to “game the system”, in a good way of course, and, whether it be through revolution, resistance, or some other solution, to find some way, not just to survive, but to remain true to oneself through it all.  That seems like a pretty optimistic message to me.

There, did I help, Doug?

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Posted by on March 27, 2012 in Reviews


The Hunger Games–What?

First of all, allow me to get the disclaimers out of the way. The largest one being that I haven’t read The Hunger Games books and had only a bare bones idea of what the story was going to be about going in. To a certain extent, I was an interloper in an excited crowd of fans, the guy who heard about the music festival featuring music he had never really heard before, but was interested in checking it all out. On the other hand, I am a big fan of event and phenomenon movies. Harry Potter, for example, isn’t necessarily my cup of tea, but I saw many of the movies and thought they were very cool for what they were. So, I was excited and very interested to see what the buzz was all about.

Having said all that, somebody has some ‘splaining to do. The first thing I said when asked by my wife and Sarah what I thought when the film ended was, “I think I’d like to go home and take a shower.” It was that bad. I walked out feeling sort of creepy and slimy. There was cheering in the theater, so I obviously missed something, or overreacted. And I understand that the books and movies are designed for a tween audience, so we’re not talking about high level art or even entertainment that is necessarily designed for the likes of me. I am assuming Sarah will explain in her review what I missed. I actually hope she does.

Because for me, in the film at least, there just felt like there was a vacuum of emotion and sense of connectedness that unfortunately allowed the cynical aspects of the plot to be kind of overwhelming. Instead of being emotionally invested in it all on some level, I found myself mostly blankly watching kids snapping each other’s necks, beating each other to death with bricks and hunting each other.

At the heart of this installment, of course, are the Hunger Games themselves, a perverse reality television type competition featuring children being forced to survive in the wild and kill each other in order to “win”. There’s more than just that involved, with all sorts of themes being explored, but only nominally so. Authoritarian power, the haves versus the have nots, family, love, feminism, class, trashy entertainment, among many other ideas are presented throughout the film. The problem is that with each one of these, we are presented with only the barest of sketches of each. You’re aware of all of them, but you don’t have a chance to emotionally invest in any of them. There are a couple of ironies at play with how bare the nuances of the plot seemed. One being the fact that the books’ author, Suzanne Collins, has a co-screenwriting credit, and the other being that the movie runs close to two and a half hours, seemingly plenty of time to explore some of these deeper themes more thoroughly.

I can only assume that in the books, the politics, class warfare, authoritarian control and other plots were given much more time to run and be explored. If so, I can easily see why the stories are so enjoyed by so many. I also realize that this first film installment of the series is one of four planned. Again, I haven’t read the books, so I don’t know this for sure. But I assume that the remainder of the story is going to involve the repressed classes rising up to defeat the oppressors behind the main character, Katniss, as well as Katniss finding true love and happiness.

But all I have to work with as someone who isn’t aware of the full story is this first film. And while I thought Jennifer Lawrence was actually quite good working with very little at giving us a combination of will and compassion, this first installment was empty. There was no depth of connection between any of the characters, other than the fact that we were told maybe, kinda, sorta that there was supposed to be. So, again, all you’re really left with is a couple of hours of waiting for kids to kill each other in increasingly sadistic ways. And I understand that the story and series is leading somewhere, but the thought that the first film is supposed to be making a social commentary on the increasing levels of callousness we accept in our entertainment, the irony that the first installment of the series was little more than teens and kids killing each other was interesting to say the least.

The worst part for me, in a way, is feeling like a party pooper. I really did want to like this before I saw it. And as I said, there were people cheering at the end of the movie when we saw it. So, I guess there is a cool factor there that I missed. Maybe I missed a lot more than that. I will say again that Jennifer Lawrence stood out in the middle of a lot of mailed in performances (although Stanley Tucci was enjoyably over the top and Woody Harrelson chewed up some scenery, as well—did you have to drink as much as your character to do this role, Woody?). Other than Lawrence providing the most minimal of feeling, though, the closest thing to real emotion that I saw was Lenny Kravitz kissing Lawrence on the cheek as he zipped up Katniss’ stylish Hunger Games jumpsuit before she went off to battle other kids to the death for reasons barely explored. I should probably just lighten up and go along for the ride but, for now, I think it’s time for that shower.


Posted by on March 26, 2012 in General Film, Reviews


Doug’s Ode To 2011’s Best Film–A Separation

As we move further and further into 2012, it dawned on me that one of the requirements of having a movie blog is that one should probably opine as to one’s personal film of the year. For most of 2011, that film was Tree of Life for me. That is until I saw A Separation, a movie that came out just before the end of the year.

It’s hard to know where to begin with A Separation, the winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar this year (out of Iran). Part of that is because there are simply so many things going on in the movie and part of it is because the director, Asghar Farhadi, is so brilliant in the way he presents so many themes without judgment, simply allowing each person in the audience to interpret and judge for themselves. Suffice it to say, though, that rarely will you see a movie that so successfully presents the inner struggles and conflicts of a society (Iran) to the outside world, while at the same time presenting so many universal themes that most any person anywhere will be thinking about long after leaving the theater.

The film takes place in Iran, and the examination of the role and plight of women in Iran’s society and the overriding battle between the religious and the secular in Iranians’ lives are at the heart of the film. You get an absolute presentation of how things are in these regards in Iran, and how they are different from how they are over here. The story revolves around two simultaneous plots, one involving the pending separation of a husband and wife and how that affects their daughter, and the other involving a possible crime that the husband may or may not have committed. And while there is certainly a level of suspense involved as the story unfolds, this is not typical movie fare where situations are exaggerated for dramatic effect. Here the drama comes from the sheer humanness of the characters, who are each involved not only in circumstances that aren’t completely of their control, but react to these circumstances in completely human, individual ways.

One of the things that I say a lot to my wife and friends in reacting to different stories or things we hear in the news, etc, is that “People are complicated. “ By that I think I mean that everybody has a huge mishmash inside them of experiences, background, belief, etc that makes them them. She says I’m always giving people the benefit of the doubt. She’s right, and it’s mainly because I usually feel like there is almost always more to a particular story than we think we know. Having said that, she and I have decided that this movie may have been made specifically for me.

The movie is about the “separation” of perceptions between men and women, religious and secular, husband and wife, daughter and parents, educated and non-educated, authority and citizenry, young and old, law and life, among many, many other things. The reactions of every single character in the movie and the way they see things are at the core of what makes this one of the most perceptive movies about simply being a person in a long while. Each character has his or her reasons, based on circumstance, belief system, situation, gender, background, social standing, relationship and experience, among many other factors, for doing what they do. Nothing that any of these characters do is judged by director Farhadi.  There is a continual examination of how the same thing can be viewed by different people in so many different ways, and even why people may shade the truth or even outright lie to either rationalize their behavior or to try to do what they sincerely think is the right thing. The beauty of all this is how the movie points out not so much how self-righteous we are in our own views, but simply how our own experiences can convince us that we are simply right. You leave the theater realizing that in day to day lives, people simply do what they do. Rarely do we think about the fact that people’s reasons for doing things aren’t always excuses, they just are what they know. Not 100% right, not 100% wrong, not purely good or purely evil, just usually the best they can do with the hand they are dealt.

There’s really no way around the fact that this is a Heavy Movie, but the best kind. While all this larger human meaning is going on, there are the two simultaneous plots that keep chugging along. The movie is Hitchcockian, not in a purely entertainment sense, but certainly in terms of using the themes of mistaken belief, misunderstanding and shades of perspectives in order to create varying levels of suspense. So, while it does explore lots of themes and is therefore a fairly long film, it will keep you on the edge of your seat wondering what might happen as it keeps you thinking. And while the movie explores a ton of universals, it also has lots of side plots that are sure to touch people on a very individual level.  My wife and I couldn’t stop talking about the movie overall, but there were also some moments for each of us where our own life experiences had us saying, “Wow, I could really relate to that.” Those moments are everywhere and will be different for everyone.

I really could go on and on about this movie, and part of me feels like I should reveal more of the plot in order to more highly recommend you seeing it. I will say that this isn’t necessarily the kind of film you want to rent for a Saturday afternoon while you’re napping on the couch. It definitely is a movie that will require your full attention, and is absolutely an adult, thinking person’s film. But I promise, if you give it a shot and the attention it deserves, it will have you thinking not only about yourself, but more importantly other people and their perspectives, in a whole new light. It is well, well worth one and even multiple viewings, and will stick with you for a long time. Destined to be remembered as a classic.



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