Friday, October 29, 2004

I’ve lost my critical faculties, I’m sure I have. I’ve watched so many good movies in the last couple of weeks due to the Bath film festival, I can’t distinguish good from bad. Oldboy is the cause – a genuinely disturbing, beautifully conceived movie; a businessman gets drunk, is arrested and then released, before he is kidnapped and locked in a hotel room for 15 years. I won’t spoil the rest, but it’s a must-watch; a scene where he eats a live octopus, not for kicks, or out of anger or because he wants to disgust people but through a sort of resigned apathy which freedom gives him, is just fantastic; the sight of the tentacles writhing across, clutching at his impassive face as he chews and chews is both hideous and alluring. I think it’s good, but it’s so perfectly made, that you can’t tell if you’re interested or not; the impassivity of the lead character is infectious, and the movie never really takes an emotion and runs with it.
Then there’s The Saddest Music in The World – fantastic, strange story, beautifully shot, slightly spoiled by a more generic than expected ending and not quite surreal enough in places, but great all the same. A tale of an amputee beer baroness in frozen Canada and her attempt to find the saddest music in the world by playing off the countries of the world. A family from her past get involved, and take different sides, playing their various instruments against each other in Dueling Banjos scenes on stage in the beer hall. It’s shot in a 1930s ‘M’ shaky-cam, with snow scattered across the monochrome screen.
Finally there’s Saw – weaker than the rest, an American attempt to do Japanese horror. Nasty, mean obvious but also scary and initially conceptually attention-grabbing. Two men wake up locked in a bathroom, chained to opposite ends by their ankles, with a dead man lying between them. They have six hours to kill each other or their families will die.

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