Tuesday, April 17, 2007

April 17th Log

2006, Kevin Macdonald . United Kingdom / United States
Repeat Viewing, DVD

The Last King of Scotland begins with a young Scottish doctor looking for adventure, who decides to spin a globe to decide where he will go. After first landing on Canada, he spins again and lands on the more "exotic" Uganda. So begins the film, which is said to be based on a true story and adapted from a novel by Giles Foden. This opening moment presents a key metaphoric message of the film, which ultimately uses the main character (Nicholas Garrigan, played by James McAvoy) as a metaphor. Films with metaphoric use of characters can often be forced, but this films strength is the wonderful intelligence it conveys. Using the terrifying real life figure of the evil, brutal, yet personally charming Ugandan dictator Idi Amin (played with brilliance by Forest Whitaker), the film blends the fictional character who represents a symbol of Western imperialism. A key moment comes when Amin tells Nicholas he has come to Africa to "play the savior white man". It is this subtle understanding of ignorance and power that make The Last King of Scotland an intelligent and effective film (the script is co-written by Peter Morgan, who also wrote the highly insightful script of The Queen). Aided by a cast of solid performances (including the always under appreciated Kerry Washington- who needs to start getting some major roles in films!) The Last King of Scotland is a very well made film, particularly for it's meaningful examinations underneath the surface of the story.

1946, Charles Vidor, United States
Repeat Vieiwng, Turner Classic Movies

Tuner Classic Movies has been featuring Rita Hayworth every Tuesday night in April and since I watched the previous weeks, I had to once again see her defeinetive performance in what is to me a masterpiece noir, 1946's Gilda. Though it comes almost 20 minutes into the film, Rita Hayworth's first appearance on screen remains the embodiment of both the film and her wonderful career. It's a moment that is quite simple, but deeply effective in portraying one of cinema's most memorable screen beauties. The flirtatious look, beautiful smile, and of course gorgeous hair display everything we need to know about Gilda the character and Hayworth the "Love Goddess." To me, Hayworth is undoubtedly among the most beautiful and talented actresses to ever live. There's never been and will never be another like her, and Gilda stands as one of her defining performances. It's easy to forget, but the this film does have more qualities aside from Hayworth's energy and presence. The black and white cinematography is lusciously shot. Lighting and shadows are symbolically used throughout as a technique in paralleling good and evil. Director Charles Vidor finelydirects a strong script, which actually involves heavy sexual undertones (both heterosexual and bisexual). Obviously Production Code limitations prevented the film from going as far as it could have. However, Gilda remains an effective melodramatic film noir romance that examines an unusual love and hate connection. But the undeniable force of the film is that of Hayworth's glamorous and unforgettable performance. "Put the Blame on Mame!"


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home