September 8, 2010 § Leave a comment
The narrative style of double indemnity is perhaps best thought of as a case of memory loss. You witness a man stumble into his office and you are sure he is under distress from the way he drove and the way he is acting as he breaks into one of the offices. This “set-up” for the film put you the viewer on the same page as the character Fred MacMurray is addressing in the dictation machine. You are being let in on the same story as its coming from the horses mouth. You become drawn into this story because you know that its ending has somehow driven this man to these dire actions and now you mush “pass judgemet” as he confesses to you.
This form of story telling is still used today in Hollywood to introduce us to a film and draw us in from the start. The other classical noir tool used in this movie is the voice over narration. Before watching “Double Indemnity” I had always believed these voice overs were used to cover weakness and ambiguity in the films emotion and message but… In this film the voice over adds to the “confession” feel of the movie. You can hear the panic and regret in the main characters voice and you can tell that he is sorrowful for choosing the path he did. Humphrey Bogart comes to mind when I hear voice over narrative and it always makes me think of those cheesy beginning shots where he is talking nonsenses about some element of the fade-in scene. Something like “It was raining that day. Not hard, but the kind of rain that reminded you of your first ballgame in Seattle. The kind of rain that made your shirt stick to your back.” I HATE this type of narration but Billy Wilder seems to know where to add the subtle touch of narrative without overpowering you with words and silly remembrances that not many can relate to anyway.
August 31, 2010 § Leave a comment
I’m going to do a huge service to the internet here and I’m not going to post ANY videos of Super Mario Brothers in the hopes that someday this film may be forgotten. I HATE this movie with a passion! True, I have only watched it once but this is usually a prerequisite to any horrible film. Most films I enjoy I have an emotional attachment to. This attachment can be from some emotional response to the movies characters, or an attachment to issues related to the plot. However I have a special place in my heart for Mario Brothers. This movie was no more than a simple grab at money related to a popular trend. True this is no new concept nor did it cease to happen after this movie was made. However, this movie is clearly a checklist of characters that the creators felt needed to be included from the related game and then with a character list set they decided maybe a plot would be necessary. I have no attatchment to this movie because of this reason. The movie is in a constant state of “oh yeah and here is this character from the game.” trying to pull in its viewers with the hope that if they liked the game so much then the title of this movie alone should make you like it as well. There is no real linear script or direction the film feels its going until the end where the director seems to wake up and remember that this movie should end somehow. Thankfully it did.
Ridley Scott’s film “Bladerunner” based on Phillip K. Dick’s novel titled “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” is by far my favorite movie. This movie changed the way I watched films from that point on. Scott pays attention to each detail and makes sure the world that he created is as immersive and as real as stepping outside and seeing what the weather is like. Specific details Scott includes are things like a wisp of blood in a drinking glass when the main character drinks a clear fluid out of a glass after being beaten up. This detail was not emphasized by the character or director but is a simple background detail to ease the viewers mind and draw him into the story. This attention to detail drew me into the story and makes some of the more “unbelievable” predictions of the future world it depicts seem palpable. The most important thing Bladerunner did to me was turn my perspectives upside down. The main character is told that these androids he is hunting are bad because they have killed people and wont bend to authority and do what they were built to do. You watch them kill people and you watch them evade the police and you grow to dislike these characters. Then in the end scene you watch the last of them begin to shut down as his life cycle is ending and as he explains that he is scared, and sad that he is dying you begin to understand that they were pitted in the same battle for life we all are. (scene included) The group was fighting to extend their life and you find discover that even artificial life eventually begins to fight in the battle for natural selection.
Bladerunner was the first movie that I realized the deeper meaning myself and didnt need anyone to tell me why this was an important movie. This was the movie that I watched intellectually and took something away from emotionally unsettling. Mario Brothers was the first movie that I realized was a studios absolute panic to make money off of a current popular product. Both of these films did awaken the same feeling in me however when one awoke the feeling of unsettled ideas of what was right and wrong in society the other awoke the idea of what was right and wrong in the film industry.