Friday, July 09, 2010

Sound of Silence

The Graduate: A story which uses a minimal plot (young man just out of college and trying to find his way in life sleeps with the wife of his father's business partner and falls in love with her daughter) as an exploration of character, suburban 1960s morality, and social criticism. There is also a further metacriticism in that the two young people's rebellious act in running off together at the end of the story is in fact is exactly what their parents wanted them to do at the start of the story (namely, marry and continue the business dynasty), questioning whether the youth rebellions of the 1960s really were instigating a social change, or just echoing wider patterns of middle-class social reproduction (children are forced into roles by their parents, rebel, but marry people like themselves, and eventually find themselves reproducing their parents' lifestyles and values); Mrs Robinson, after all, no doubt thought she was being rebellious when she slept with her boyfriend as an undergraduate and started this whole mess.

Pale Rider: A disappointing rehash of elements of several much better Westerns (mainly A Fistful of Dollars, High Plains Drifter, Shane and Once Upon a Time in the West), featuring Clint Eastwood as a gun-toting preacher With No Name who comes to the aid of a group of California gold-miners under threat from a local developer who is Evil and engages in environmentally unsound mining practices (no, really, this is an actual plot point). Between the bigging up of the preacher as hero and the simplistic environmental message (hydraulic mining bad, but mining by smashing up rocks and diverting streams perfectly OK, it seems), it appears to have been jointly funded by the Southern Baptist Convention and the Sierra Club.

Brighton Rock: Archetypical British film noir about gangsters in Brighton, which clearly disturbed Brighton Council enough that there's a disclaimer at the start of the film to the effect of "it's not like that anymore, really!" Scarily, it actually is, even now.

Movie count for 2010: 70