Wednesday, January 20, 2010

3 Films with 4 Character, 1 Word Names

This past weekend I viewed 3 films with 1 word titles:

1) Moon (2009, Duncan Jones)

2) Fame (2009, Kevin Tanchareon)

3) Adam (2009, Max Mayer)

All 3 just out in the United States on DVD, these films were on my list of "films I wanna go see now that I am back in the US where movies generally premier sooner" but, with my newly ex-pat-returned-home status, I was unable to spend the outrageous $12 a ticket necessary to view whilst still in the theater.

Which is the case with a lot of films I am watching right now. I am catching up, so to speak...

Adam, a cutesy-poo film about love and Autism, ending with typical Indy Rom-Com discomfort and ambiguity, the film lacked a certain something special. Not a bad film, certainly worth seeing, but not particularly noteworthy either. Feel free to contest this remark should you feel so moved.
In my private weekend film-fest, the film that truly struck me as genius was Moon (forget about Fame...I'm not even gonna go there...though I would love to rip it to ever loving shreds).
Moon, staring the unrequited love of my film critical life, Sam Rockwell, takes place on the lunar surface, where a global corporation is mining a substance responsible for meeting 97% of Earths energy needs. Sam (also the characters cute!) is alone aboard the lunar station, where he has supervised the fully automated mining operation for nearly 3 years, the length of his contract. In a overly utilized narrative choice, Moon gives a nod the Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey in the form of GERTY, the talking computer. Its not quite as big brother-ish as 2001: Sam has privacy and more than once he calls for GERTY with no response. It becomes plain that while the convention set by Kubrick in his groundbreaking Sci-fi vision, is referenced, it is not the template for the film. GERTY exists to serve and is not at all the nefarious HAL 9000 of Space Odyssey. Simply by referencing the convention set forth by Kubrick, the "character" of GERTY is assumed to be evil. Duncan Jones successfully denies the convention, yet manipulates the audience into thinking they already know the narrative to follow. The convention becomes subverted, allowing for the filmmakers to mold a tension that is unrelieved by the confirmation of assumptions.
I am not going to give away the story. I want you to see this film, but I will tell you a little something about Mr. Rockwell...
What ends up unfolding is a wicked performance by Sam Rockwell, Sam Rockwell and Sam Rockwell...that's right 3 Sam Rockwell's for the price of 1. Brilliant. And it takes a genius to pull off what Sam Rockwell gracefully accomplishes in this ballet of intertwining performances. Its a Celtic Knot of Sam Rockwell. Overall, Moon is a deliciously disturbing film. The discomfort creeps up on you like a dirty little prankster. A then BLAMO, the plot thickens in the most unexpected way (well...maybe not so unexpected...I kinda saw it coming, but then again I have seen A LOT of movies.) All in all, well worth the rental. And Sam Rockwell, if your out there: Shine on you crazy diamond!

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