Friday, January 19, 2007
how not even a language barrier can hold clint down
starring ken watanabe and shido nakamura
directed by clint eastwood
written by iris yamashita
viewed at the embarcadero center, san francisco, ca
it's becoming clearer to me that the best filmmaker in the world is probably clint eastwood, and he has been for awhile. of course, he has the oscars to back that up, but what's striking is the thoughtfulness, subtlety, skill, drama and care that takes place within every frame of each film he makes. and, with each passing film, he gets better and better which is just incredible.
even a film like "flags of our fathers", which i don't rank among his best, is still one of the best films i've seen this year. but this isn't about that film; it's about its much better sibling.
eastwood filmed this movie at about the same time as "flags" and intended for them to be complementary pieces to a horrible battle. the thoughtfulness of taking both sides of this fight, and dedicating two different films and storytelling techniques to each of them, is purely brilliant stuff. but that's just where the brilliance began.
first off, it's exceptionally directed. and, considering the whole movie is in japanese, it's mindblowing that he was able to direct while hearing a foriegn language and still have the feeling be that evident. that speaks miles of the trust he keeps with his actors. (however, i wonder how the film is absorbed by someone who speaks the language). the script is powerful and emotional and told with the precisely right amount of compassion and delicacy it deserves. the performances are strong all around. and the color treatment is close to monochromatic, which allows for the reds of the japanese flag and fire to really pop. again, thoughtfulness.
and the content within the story is sad and emotional. they are completely absorbed through each second.
brilliant stuff by a brilliant artist.
is this the best movie of the year? possibly. it's in the "dreamgirls" and "the departed" group, just a half step ahead of "babel", "the queen", "volver" and "little miss sunshine" in my little world. it's been a strong year for films, and this is among the strongest.
but to consider it as just a foreign film would be a disaster. besides, it's an american film with a japanese script with an american crew filming a japanese cast. i don't know how you categorize that, and i don't care.
it's just a great film, a very human story, that happens to be in japanese.
Posted by Check me out: at 11:45 PM