Monday, February 28, 2011
I am fortunate to have very creative friends. A few of my friends decided to rent a projector over this weekend for a party. We made good use of it by watching two good movies in the back yard of their house, both of which have been nominated for the Academy Awards this year. Although it puts a serious question mark on my dedication to thesis writing, I must admit that for the first time, I have watched four movies that have been nominated for the Academy Awards before the ceremony took place. They are, in the order that I liked them, The King's Speech, 127 Hours, The Black Swan and Social Network.
There was a lot of discussion over why people liked The King's Speech. An analysis of "The Kings Speech Vs Social Network" happened before the Oscars. Here is an interesting article on why the former is likely to win (which it did!). For those of you who do not know what it is about, it is about King George VI and his long battle with a speech impediment. As a movie, it appealed to me more than Social Network because of the room it afforded for the actors. Colin Firth and Geoffrey Rush both present their characters with remarkable honesty. I am a fan of Rush since the time I saw his portrayal of Marquis De Sade in Quills.
As it is argued in the article given above, The King's Speech may have the psychological effect of the age old 'triumph of the good and the honest', that human beings are subconsciously attracted to. At the same time, it has the element of breaching of 'established social hierarchy', where a king goes to a commoner for help.
Although it did not do a stellar job at the Oscars, Danny Boyle's 127 Hours is a gripping story. It is about an avid adrenaline junkie who has to go through an unexpected accident. I don't want to spoil the story so I won't say much about it. However, if someone had narrated the story to me before I watched the movie, I would not believe that it could be made into a ninety minute movie. So the USP of this movie is almost entirely in its making. I loved the background score by Rahman. It added the needed zing to the intense emotion of the storyline.
I loved The Black Swan because Natalie Portman tells the entire story using her face alone. She went through a physically demanding makeover for this movie. Both Natalie and Mila Kunis, who plays Natalie's rival, were on a 1200 calorie (and a 5 hour workout) schedule for their roles. But going beyond the physical transformation, Natalie makes the pain, the anguish, the surrender to discipline, the uncertainty of being in the most coveted position come to life through her facial expressions. It is a disturbing movie but it deals with psychological issues that are faced by human beings in varying degrees, in every profession, even though they are more severe in fields like fashion and professional ballet.
Social Network is about the journey of Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook. In reading the analysis of this movie online, I often came across a new stereotype that the media has coined - the rejected geek. He seems to be spiteful of the other two well established stereotypes, the hot girl at school and handsome 'dudes' who haunt the school gym and the basketball court. However, unlike the older stereotype of a powerless nerd, this new avatar is capable of doing some serious damage (and making some serious moolah). I enjoyed it for its pace that matches the pace of the age in which it was made.
Another noteworthy fact is that of the four, three movies were based on true stories.
Now, that I have played the movie reviewer, I should better get back to reviewing my papers. :)