Wherein we discuss the last three movies I’ve seen in reverse order.
Vantage Point – The best thing about the movie is the trailer (or maybe the poster). The cast is probably the 2nd best thing, but the script is just asinine. Not only does it not make things clear initially (and I’m all for making an audience work), but it’s intentionally vague or not clear for no real reason. And thus is the entire modus operandi for the movie. You get bit by bit of a 23-minute segment from a different vantage point of each of the main characters. None of the characters are compelling, and the narrative is what I could call frustratingly tantric, but without any payoff in the end. There’s barely a movie here, and that’s why they have to rely on the gimmick. (It’s the same thing I’m worried about a bit with the second season of Damages, but they’ve got a strong first season backing them to see if they can pull it off again.) At least they tried to give Dennis Quaid’s character some backstory. And did any of the characters have names? Skip it.
Let the Right One In – I clicked on what I thought was the trailer for this on Quicktime’s site, but it turned out to be a scene from the movie. Knowing nothing, I was immediately intrigued. The trailer did nothing to dispel that interest. Alexander and I went to a late screening, and early on I had some trouble not falling asleep reading (an ongoing problem). Beloved by critics, I can’t say I thought it was great. It was interesting as hell, well-acted, but I’m not sure where the real story was. I find myself being very picky about character arcs and narrative structure these days. Not sure if it’s because I finally get it, or just that it’s on my mind whilst writing. This is a movie about a relationship, not a series of plot points. Not quite as horrific as one might expect, though it does have some genuinely creepy moments. We ran into one of Alexander’s CAA cohorts outside the screening and he said, “This is what Twilight should have been.” So take that for what it’s worth. It’s definitely a different look at both vampires and young love. Recommended.
Gran Torino – It’s flawed as hell. I mean, seriously, how did this script get made? I bet it read like a joke on the page. Eastwood’s character is one of the most ridiculous racists ever committed to film, especially outside of exploitation movies. But he’s an interesting character, and it’s a damn fine performance that carries the entire movie. He’s the only one doing any acting, and the only character outside of Thao we really get to know. Weird to see such a stellar performance surrounded by mediocrity, but he pulls it off. Narratively it’s all over the map. The plot kind of shows its hand early, then backs off, then reappears much later than it probably should have. The antagonists needed more screen time to be more of a threat. They’re… lacking. You’ll laugh, you’ll enjoy, and Eastwood is always essential viewing on both sides of the camera (almost anyhow). This is no exception.