Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Mad Dogs and Teenagers

Dogville: Tragic reflection on the bad side of human nature by Lars von Trier. Nicole Kidman plays a fugitive from gangsters who hides out in a small mountain town, paying back the villagers by helping them out with their work; the villagers, faced with mounting pressure to turn her in on one side, and the temptation of having a ready source of labour on the other, gradually ratchet up the exploitation until it turns into outright abuse. The ending turns the whole thing into a philosophical discussion on the nature of forgiveness which is not dissimilar to that in Bad Lieutenant, but taking the opposite narrative tack: because the person called on to forgive would, in the same situation, have acted no differently to the person they are asked to forgive, they cannot, in the end, do so.

Also, what is it with Scandinavian directors and dogs?

You Don’t Know Jack: Biopic of euthanasist Jack Kevorkian, which is both sympathetic to Kevorkian’s initial idealistic reasons for assisting the suicide of the terminally ill and/or incurably disabled, but also paints his final trial and conviction for murder as the result of his being emotionally traumatised by assisting at all these deaths until, as the trial judge states, he wanted to be stopped.

Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Having managed to get through the 1980s without seeing this, I thought it was time to give it a go. It turned out to be a surprisingly witty and accessible teen movie, full of well-timed physical comedy, whose ultimate message is: be true to yourself, and don’t obsess about what other people do or think.

Movie Count for 2011: 20