Connect with us

Crime

Stillwater- An Aggressively American Mess

Published

on

Tom McCarthy’s newest film Stillwater is loosely based on the infamous story of Amanda Knox, in this version, Allison Baker is accused of killing her girlfriend and as her father, Bill Baker, played by Matt Damon, visits her, he decides that he will personally work to prove her innocence. Directed by the same man who directed Best Picture winner Spotlight, Stillwater was something I was very much excited to see. After watching it though, I am baffled that this was made by the same man who made one of the most intriguing and well executed films of the past decade (Spotlight) as none of the talent he clearly has, is being used here.

The biggest issue with this film is the protagonist who is just unlikable. Matt Damon’s Bill is the epitome of an ignorant tourist, specifically American. He takes the phrase “fish out of water” to the nth degree, he is a fish who has purposefully left the water, knowing it will not be able to survive out of the water, and yet is annoyed that it can’t breathe and frustrated that the out-of-water isn’t the same as in it. He has been visiting France for years and hasn’t bothered to even learn the basics; someone says “bonjour” and he responds, in a thick southern American accent “hey”, and the few times he bothers to speak French, he speaks with an accent as bad as Brad Pitt in Inglorious Basterds (although this isn’t done for comedy) as he mutters “mersee”. At times, it felt like this film was satirising the typical American tourists that often get mocked by Europeans for their cultural ignorance. In one scene, a French university lecturer says that the reason the French press were so ruthless to Allison is because they were envious because she is American, and America is the “cultural elite” … in what universe is France, the home of the Louvre, a country that is the birthplace of cinema, with a rich and long history, envious of America’s culture? Things like this littered throughout made me think it was perhaps a satire, but everything else was pointing toward this trying to be a serious emotional film. Bill is not nice to the people around him, he is ignorant, selfish, entitled and we’re meant to empathise with him? He makes wildly inappropriate and unjustifiable decisions and yet this is the man with whom we spend the entire, lengthy runtime.

The next biggest issue is the screenplay. To say Tom McCarthy also co-wrote Spotlight, one of the most captivating, tight, and exciting screenplays in recent memory, this screenplay is disastrous. It seems totally unaware of what earth is like in 2021. At one point, the characters take screenshots from a public Instagram account to help them find somebody, and someone says they can’t take these photos to the police because “we stole these photos from Instagram” and people just accepted it. I was baffled by so many things like this, a random reference to “fake news”, bad boomer jokes about guns, I could go on forever. The screenplay also demands a mammoth runtime of 2 hours and 20 minutes, and you feel every second. This should’ve been under 2 hours or extended and turned into a mini-series. There is so much of Bill just standing around, walking around, driving around, while listening to his country music to remind us how American he is, it drags so slowly. But at other times it is rushed, the ending is rushed, Bill is given no time to react to some huge news he receives so we completely lose any momentum the plot was building because the climax is either rushed or non-existent because too much time is wasted on following Bill doing absolutely nothing of worth.

There isn’t really anything this film excels at; everything is adequate. It is thoroughly average, the cinematography is dull, the editing successfully strings the scenes they filmed and that’s about it, the direction is unremarkable, the writing is, as I’ve discussed, terrible at times but the few times it isn’t dreadful it’s merely competent. The performances are okay. Camille Cottin easily gives the best performance as Bill’s love interest; Matt Damon tries but it’s difficult to enjoy his performance because his character is just so unlikeable.

It’s difficult to criticise because, while I did not like this at all, there really isn’t much that is actively bad, it’s just thoroughly average. It had a few interesting moments, one or two great scenes, some brief tension, but this film was just not for me at all, and I’m not sure who it would be for; probably the older cinemagoer, but for me, I have overwhelmingly negative thoughts. As a big fan of McCarthy’s other work, I wanted to like this, but I just couldn’t. 

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Click to comment
Subscribe
Notify of
guest

0 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Crime

Netflix’s Bodies Review: Stephen Graham’s Mind-Twisting Series Related To Dark?

Published

on

Netflix's Bodies

If you are a fan of time travel, crime, and mind-bending suspense then Netflix’s Bodies is perfect to binge-watch this weekend. Directed by Haolu Wang and Marco Kreuzpaintner, Bodies is based on DC’s graphic novel by Si Spencer – who has been tributed in the first episode. The story follows four detectives in four different timelines and they discover a naked man’s body with one eye gouged out, surprisingly it’s the body of the same person in different timelines!

Shira Haas and Stephen Graham

Shira Haas and Stephen Graham in Netflix’s ‘Bodies’

The 8-episode series parallelly shows four detectives – DS Hasan (Amaka Okafor) in 2023, DS Whiteman (Jacob Fortune-Lloyd) in 1941, DI Hillinghead (Kyle Soller) in 1890, and DC Maplewood (Shira Haas) in 2053 twisted in the same case discovering facts that are beyond their understanding. DS Hasan from the year 2023 discovers that the case she has been working on has happened before, not once but twice decades ago. Much to her suspicion, the evidence aligns with her own case which leads her confused more than ever.

Stephen Graham is not limited to one timeline, his intense performance deepens the storyline, leaving viewers jumpy. Amaka Okafor, Shira Haas, Kyle Soller, and Jacob Fortune-Lloyd’s distinctive acting and effective dialogue delivery are appreciated but Fortune-Lloyd deserves a standing ovation for his shining performance. Graham and Soller’s costumes and makeup are on point in the show.

Jacob Fortune-Lloyd

Jacob Fortune-Lloyd as DS Whiteman in Bodies

With each episode comes mind-blowing twists that keep you on edge all the time. Each detective’s personal story and connection to people close to them adds more depth to their character and the choices they make. Even till the end of the last episode, the series holds your attention profoundly. Different timelines connected to one another may cause confusion at first but it only adds more fun to the story that leaves us in shock.

Now, if it reminds you of Netflix’s other popular German series Dark, directed by Baran bo Odar, then we can’t blame you. Bodies and Dark are not related to each other but they draw strong parallels to one another and it’s mainly due to different timelines, time travel, and hard-to-understand relations between the two characters. Although characters in Bodies are not connected to each other deep and twisted like in Dark but you need to keep a close eye to understand their connection. Dark, starring German actors Louis Hofmann and Lisa Vicari, is Netflix’s one of the most popular supernatural twists series and it is safe to assume that Bodies is no less than the 3-season German series.

Time portal in 'Dark' vs 'Bodies'

Time Portal in ‘Dark’ vs ‘Bodies’

Stephen Graham’s Bodies is a mind-bending, thriller series full of brilliant performances. Its captivating narrative and depth keep the viewers engaged and entertained.

Bodies is available to stream on Netflix.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Crime

Killers Of The Flower Moon: Scorsese Expertly Crafts A True American Tragedy

Published

on

Martin Scorsese directing a Western crime drama starring Leonardo Dicaprio and Robert De Niro, a combination like that would immediately make this project the most highly anticipated movie of the year for most movie lovers. I have been looking forward to this project ever since it was announced to be happening in 2017, and 6 years later it is finally here.

 

Killers of the Flower Moon is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by David Grann and is adapted by Eric Roth. It also stars Lily Gladstone, Jesse Plemons, Brendan Fraser, and John Lithgow alongside De Niro and DiCaprio. Martin Scorsese has been delivering top-quality cinema for almost six decades now and although I didn’t love his last feature The Irishman, expectations were still high from this project, which also happens to be his first western.

Robert De Niro and Leonardo DiCaprio in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” coming soon to Apple TV+.

Killers of the Flower Moon is set in the 1920s in the oil-rich lands of the Osage in Fairfax, Oklahoma. Ernest Burkhart (Leonardo DiCaprio), a World War 1 veteran with no prospects arrives in town to live with his uncle Bill ‘King’ Hale (Robert De Niro), who claims to be a friend to the Osage people. Ernest falls in love with an Osage woman Mollie (Lily Gladstone), who sees through his greed, but a genuine romance eventually blossoms between the two.

 

The plot thickens when Mollie’s family starts dying under suspicious circumstances and they struggle to find justice through the local authorities. Gladstone’s performance is elegant and powerful and she shows her ability to act through her eyes for most of her screen time. She is subtle and often silent, but she makes sure to convey the exact emotions that her character is going through. Robert De Niro as Uncle Bill does what he does best. Scorsese always seems to manage to bring out the best of him. He is calculative, cunning and sharp and shines as the scheming businessman. DiCaprio also gives one of his career-best performances as the charming underling of King Hale.

 

Though the story is about the murderers, it keeps the romance between Mollie and Ernest at its center and for the first two acts, their relationship is the primary driving force of the narrative. The third act focuses more on the investigation and the consequences of the killings. The direction is masterful throughout and it follows similar themes from Scorsese’s previous works like greed, betrayal, and murder. The cinematography is also one of the finest of the year, with the sheer scale of the canvas a sight for sore eyes. The production design and costumes are also stellar.

Robert De Niro and Jesse Plemons in “Killers of the Flower Moon,” coming soon to Apple TV+.

A lot has been said about the runtime of the movie, which goes over the 200-minute mark, but it never feels too long. There are stretches that feel slow and could have been edited to make it crisper, but the run-time was not a major issue for me. I did feel that the screenplay did not provide enough perspective to the viewer, especially about some of the characters’ motivations. Some of the depth feels unexplored. Jesse Plemons was massively underused, while Brendan Fraser and John Lithgow feel wasted. I also felt that there was scope for blood and violence and the script also holds back on language.

 

Killers Of The Flower Moon is A True American Tragedy that further cements Martin Scorsese as one of the greatest filmmakers of all time. He shows off his craftsmanship and delivers a riveting Western epic that is self-reflective, thought-provoking and thoroughly captivating. AppleTV and Paramount have a masterpiece on their hands with knockout performances and masterful storytelling.

Killers of the Flower Moon releases in cinemas on October 20. 

FILM RATING
Continue Reading

Crime

The Kingpin of Gotham Has Arrived | The Penguin – Teaser

The Penguin is an upcoming American television miniseries created by Lauren LeFranc for the streaming service Max. Based on the DC Comics character Penguin, it is a spin-off from the film The Batman that explores the Penguin’s rise to power in Gotham City’s criminal underworld.

Published

on

By

Genre:

Crime, Drama, Fantasy

Release Date:

2023

Director:

Max

Cast:

Collin Farrell, Clancy Brown, Cristin Milioti,

Plot Summary:

The Penguin is an upcoming American television miniseries created by Lauren LeFranc for the streaming service Max. Based on the DC Comics character Penguin, it is a spin-off from the film The Batman that explores the Penguin’s rise to power in Gotham City’s criminal underworld.

FILM RATING
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Popular Now

Advertisement
Advertisement

TRENDING NOW

Trending

CoastalHouseMedia.com is a property of Coastal House LLC. © 2012 All Rights Reserved. Images used on this website are registered trademarks of their respective companies/owners.

0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x