Tom Hardy

Dunkirk – Review #79

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dunkirk-poster.jpgChristopher Nolan is not a bad filmmaker. He has “it”. He knows the tricks of the trade and I don’t have to be the guy to tell you that his works have been very, very successful.’

And I can see why people who call him one of the greats of our time. Just according to me personally, his dedication in using actual practical effects is something I applaud at. Extras up to the thousands, using actual planes and ships from the actual evacuation, getting large scale remote controlled aircraft just so he can crash it into the English Channel? In a world of overwhelmingly use of CGI and less and less time and money spent on practical effects, the fact that Nolan has the credibility and leeway to have these actual things is something I really much appreciate. He’s able to bring out the best of everything and everyone.

So yeah, Christopher Nolan is not a bad filmmaker.

He is, however, boring as hell.

Let me explain. When I go into the cinemas to watch a movie, I expect to get sucked into the world that the director makes. I expect to get fully engrossed into the story, the characters, all that jazz. With Nolan’s directing style I just can’t get that absorption.

His directing style can be visualized with these series of words: shakeshakeshakeshakeshakestaticwideshotshakeshakeshakeshakeshakestaticcameraisattachedtosomethingshakeshakeshakeshakeshake

For ninety percent of the movie, the camera doesn’t rest. It has constant motion. Not shaky cam-he’s competent enough to not use that-but there’s shaking.

And the camera’s focus for the most part is pretty tight. Occasionally you’ll get the cool extra wide scenic shot, but for most of the people it’s usually focused on people’s faces.

Now, most people would say that he did this to show the intensive fear and creeping terror of the soldiers’ wait for escape, how hope just seems to be on the edge, and in that sense one would be right. However, here comes the common flaw of this method in this movie.

He uses it too damn much.

Little to no deviance, the one image that will be ingrained in your brain watching this is “shaking close up of man”. The fact that he lingers on this technique for so long, and with so little changes, that when it does change to a shot that in any other movie I would marvel at, the brain has been numbed to the point that it doesn’t register as epic as it should.

That is not to say that the shooting style is ineffective. Not at all. The movie did grab my attention all the way through. Problem is, the lack of shot changes mean that the tension of the scene isn’t elevated, taking the movie and subsequently the audience higher.

It’s like a car that’s constantly on 4th gear. At first you’ll feel the whoosh, the adrenaline. But by the time you’re at the 2nd hour mark it’s become the temporal reality. It doesn’t affect you as much.

Now, there’s other problems that this movie has, albeit smaller comparatively. The fumbling of the timelines really did confuse me for a bit, and when they finally merged together, my brain was still occupied in trying to piece it all together.

Also, there have been complaints that the sound on IMAX is way too loud. I’m inclined to agree, although I do not know if that’s because of my already settled worries, or if it really was just very loud. I will say that earphones are recommended though, just in case.

But all those aside, what frustrates me about this movie is that the rest of it is so good. As I said before, the practical effects are something I applaud at, but almost every other aspect of the movie is brilliant. The cast is absolutely astonishing, with amazing performances from everyone involved, even the ex-boybander Harry Styles. Music wise, Hans Zimmer has made a master-class of atmospheric music. The blaring horns and the violins, all a perfect fit for a film.

If not for Nolan’s style, this movie could’ve easily gotten my praise and admiration like it has gotten from so many people. It’s a great movie, but it could’ve been a modern day classic. Can you see how frustrating this is?

Dunkirk. The 8/10 that could’ve gotten so much better.

Mad Max: Fury Road – Review #1

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What a lovely movie. Oh, and why in the world has Mattel not partnered with George Miller to make Mad Max Hot Wheels? They would sell like…well, mad.

mad-max-fury-road-poster2Mad Max: Fury Road, directed by George Miller, is the fourth installment of the Mad Max series of films. It also acts as a reboot, with Tom Hardy replacing Mel Gibson as the title character in this 30-year old franchise. The story takes place in the post-apocalyptic wasteland, which is totally not Australia, *cough*, and starts with Max being captured by a group of people call the War Boys, whom for some reason have no tan despite being basked in the sun all the time. Max is found to have blood type O-negative, which means that he’s a universal blood bag, a term that Nux, a War Boy, calls him. As he is being used, Furiosa, a driver under the god-like figure Immortan Joe, decides to detract from a normal oil and gun run. The rest of the movie is the intense chase between Immortan Joe with his War Boys, and Furiosa,¬† with Max being dragged along for the ride.

My anticipation for this movie was off the wall. I love vehicular carnage. Call me what you want, but I like to see vehicles being mangled and crushed. I think it’s supposed to release anger or whatever. And so, with the Mad Max series being famous for its destruction of automobiles, I entered the cinema hoping that my hunger would be at least supplied. Mad Max: Fury Road not just provides that love of destruction with no sense of guilt and remorse what-so-ever, it delivered it in unnecessary excess, and I enjoyed every last minute of it.

When Chris Stuckmann said that this is one of the best action movies this decade, he wasn’t kidding. Director George Miller’s visual eye gives us the best it has ever gotten in post-apocalyptic¬† vehicular warfare. The chase scenes are beautifully shot, the colors are striking, the designs of the vehicles are unique and fit perfectly in this wasteland, and the stunts are some of the most jaw-dropping, eye-opening moments I have ever witnessed. I shit you not, my eyes began to hurt when I watched this movie, not because it was too fast-paced or too bright, but because it had me so glued to the screen I forgot the subconscious instinct to blink. It is that good.

Not only that, but the new characters that Miller have drawn up for us are instantly memorable, and are another magnificent piece of this movie’s puzzle. Charlize Theron’s is strong as Furiosa, a female character in an action movie that *gasp* isn’t a damsel in distress! When’s the last time we’ve seen that?-Black Widow doesn’t count. Nicholas Hoult’s Nux gives the perspective of the blind soldiers, who would willingly sacrifice themselves just to stop a truck. If anything, the weakest character in the movie is Max himself, but maybe that’s just me missing Mel Gibson. And of course, my favorite character is the guy playing the fire-blasting electric guitar. You’ll have to see the film yourself to see why.

All in all, Mad Max: Fury Road gives everything that it promised it would give: high-octane gas-guzzling non-accidental automobile wrecking. Just remember that this is a reboot, and don’t let the change in atmospheric color and actor take away your opinion and enjoyment of this wonderful, steroid-eating, engine-blasting, lovely film.

P.S.: You guys should totally check out Chris Stuckmann on Youtube. He’s a pretty cool guy.