Welcome to my movie blog, containing reviews and articles. I've been writing since 2004 - with a short break during 2009.

I fell in love with a camera angle; the depths of cinematic despair

Two reactions for you today, both as they stand straight after finishing a film...only...not. Hey, I'm lazy!

Once Upon a Time in the West - I tell you, I overreact generally but this takes the biscuit. I've been known to sigh over couples, kisses, heroic actions and sweet hairstyles, but this is possibly the only time I have sighed over a camera angle...yes, I know. Sergio Leone...he takes the principle of creating suspense by showing an empty room and streeeeeeeeeches it out to the limit. The famous 12 minute credit sequence, the longest in movie history: a large empty landscape where nothing is happening...cut to a man, doing nothing...another man, also doing nothing...the first man twitches...the second man looks up. On and on for 12 minutes, but do you know it works? It's not dull, I'm not pretentious - it's as riveting as anything and absolutely fabulous. It also goes some way towards explaining why the film's so's long because of the silences, certainly not because of the padded script. IMDB says the original script length was 436 pages, which I find hard to believe unless it was dialogue free and all purple prose, in which case I can absolutely believe it. Oooh, what else to say? Ok, the plot is nothing special but I hardly noticed until dissecting it later. The music is superb - that wailing harmonica tune, and that really cool song which kicks in just after a homestead is entirely wiped of life. Ah yes, that's what I wanted to say! Frank...gee...he's the nastiest bad guy I've seen in a while. Hollywood does evil quite a lot, but they never do it properly. No Michael doesn't count, he's the anti-hero not the bad guy - and he never shot a child. There's quite rightly a taboo on kiddie-killing on screen, but that's not to say I don't want to see it broken more often...Harmonica has a perfect right to hate his guts. It's only my second Henry Fonda film, so I didn't suffer from the shock of seeing him be evil the way the rest of you supposedly did, but it must have been painful because he was bad enough as he was!

And then Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead. Spoilers be below (and possibly 1984 and Brazil, but not really):

I've seen it before. I've read Hamlet, I've read the title and the second half of the film is stuffed full of oblique clues to how it ends. That doesn't make it any less shocking every time it does. Like...I've been actually physically thumped in the gut. It's the Player's explanation of why it has to happen - "you are R&G. That is enough." It's Guildenstern's speech in return and the most horrible proof that fate can't be changed. And it's his speech just pain, here, ok?

It's a bit like the end of 1984. Lord knows I know it's coming, but every time I read it I throw the book across the room and sit shivering in a corner. If ever I needed another reason not to see one of the various movie adaptions, then I could try being unable to attack the TV.

And did I mention Brazil?! I watched Brazil. And then I sat on my bed and didn't move for about five minutes (that's a record for me, OK guys?)

I'd ask what were all your favourite hopeless endings, but then again I wouldn't want them spoiled, and no one's listening anyway.


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