Waves of unreality breaking at the shores of my Sea of Dreams...
Its been a Bank Holiday Movie Bonanza this long weekend, and its been splashing great washes of technicolour across my dreams. Incredibly vivid images captured from my REM sleep, people and places and themes, filmic textures imprinted on my dreams. Its been… interesting.
First up was Kill Bill Volume 2, which was an incredibly enjoyable piece of cinema. Despite my ravingly enthusiastic review of the first volume (buried within the December 2003 Archives, VSX fans!), I had, on later reflection, been left with a bit of a disjointed feeling, a slightly unsatisfying feeling of incompleteness. Although the film was a fairly blistering roller-coaster ride in itself, the characters still sometimes felt two-dimensional, and the whole (or the half) of part 1 maybe seemed more like a series of sketches at times. However, that was just half of the film in its entirety, and Volume 2 sewed everything together very nicely indeed. No unanswered questions, plenty more dialogue (an area where the first was lacking), and plenty of shading in of the characters which had, out of necessity perhaps, been sketched in as simple line-drawings in Volume 1; the film had lots more character full stop. I suppose it can be difficult comfortably absorbing and accommodating a film within your mind if you don't know, or can't understand, the motives of the players. Volume 2 soon set about resolving this. And David Carradine’s Bill was an especially watchable creation. Cinematic crack.
Yup, twas very nice. If Volume 1 was Final Fantasty VII on the Playstation1, Volume 2 was Broken Sword 3 on the X-Box. I imagine.
Anyway, enough of my guff. You know you want to see it, even if you don't think you do. And if you don't, then go and watch that Sleepless In Seattle video again. From a locked safe. As it plummets down towards the Mid-Atlantic Ridge.
But talking of the gloriously-stylish violence of the KB films, and some people's aversion thereof, this was just how I had felt myself, at least for a day or two after seeing Gus Van Sant's Elephant, a film which, quite rightly, I could not enjoy, but that I certainly appreciated. I haven't really written about it yet on these pages before, but it made a big impact on me at the time. It's been a long time since a film has left me feeling so utterly shellshocked - I walked out of the cinema alone (my girlfriend had been ill that day), and felt like breaking down in tears. I just wanted to cry out loud at the sickness of the world that turns privileged American high-school children into merciless killing machines.
It feels exhausting and somehow petty me trying to put into words the technical style of a film which made me sick with the reality of what it was portraying, but to quote some of the LoopDiLoop blog's review of the film, it was "almost dreamlike in its fractured narrative, with timelines overlapping, jumping backwards and forwards, several scenes shown from multiple points of view, time slowing down in some scenes, speeding up in others" the rest of their review can be found HERE, and very acute it is too.)
In many scenes, nothing much happened for painfully-long periods, the camera floating ethereally amongst the characters, tracking them as they walked through their everyday lives, watching as they talked about nothing much at all, just as real people, as opposed to cinema characters, really do talk.
The set-up left you believing in these characters – it wasn’t as if you were watching a film, but more like you were invisible, watching, having opened a window onto someplace else. And you felt for them, as they made the best they could with their journeys through the awkwardness of adolescence. And so, when the pointless, unexplained final tragic act commenced, it was your own innocent friends you saw being shot up. The violence wasn’t at all graphic, visually. But you felt every bullet.
I came away, thinking I’d turned a corner, and that I’d never be able to watch trivialising Hollywood violence again. I actually thought, through mental sobs, that I wouldn’t be able to watch the next Kill Bill film now.
It didn’t last long…
But enough of this. The main purpose of movies is entertainment, and the second full film of my Bank Holiday provided that in droves – Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. This one really got my dreams all messed-up!
Now anyone who’s enjoyed screen-writer Charlie Kaufman’s previous work (Being John Malkovich, Adaptation et al) will either have already seen this, or they'll already be worked up into a lather of anticipation. It’s yet another exploration into the workings of the mind from Kaufman, and its as different to all the other films that are out there as you’d expect from him. Real believable characters in unreal unbelievable parameters. It’s also a love story with a difference, and it made me cry, big fat genuine tears. Not the manipulated tears of most love-stories, but heartfelt personal tears, tears of knowing love and the pain that would rush to fill its vacuum in its absence.
But enough of me being a soppy sack of shite, its fresh, and original, and different, and it forces you to think. Jim Carey (thankfully not in clown-mode, and showing himself to be a terrific actor) played it wonderfully vulnerable as Joel, and Kate Winslett's Clementine was rather wonderful as well (just keep an eye on her hair).
Sod it, I feel like I’ve been writing for ever, what with yesterday’s blogging failure, and today’s repeated multi-application software meltdown in GDI.EXE blah blah blah. Jeez, in fact, I HAVE been writing this for well over 24 hours now. Gah! In the words of Joel, “Constantly talking isn't necessarily communicating.” I think there's a lesson for me, there. You'd be best off getting it straight from the horses mouth. Just head over to Lacuna Inc, and let Dr Howard Mierzwiak explain what its all about – “Bringing you the revolutionary painless non-surgical memory erasing process.”
Myself, I must abort, before I erase my hard-drive out of spite.