Wednesday, February 16, 2005

grosse pointe blank

it's all tight & compact perfection, this film. i can't recommend it enough. admittedly it has liberal splashings of every plot device i've come to love in films - intensely over-stylised & 'cool' violence & dialogue (no one in real life wields a gun or talks like this), romance of 21st-century physicality & rhetorical interplay (the lovers almost too cool for touch, always skirting around the edges of outright heart-professions by way of sarcasm & irony, but the world around them always an abnormal sphere of less-impressiveness), & a story that moves towards revelation, outcome, & a sunset. i love it.

in a strange way the film draws comparisons with a movie i lambasted elsewhere on this blog - 'collateral'. fundamentally different films, of course - as a director michael mann loves scenic evocation as much as script & character devices, & the way he intermingles these two filmic desires can be jarring &/or brilliant. 'grosse pointe blank' works on a bedrock of scripted wit & concrete character development (the writer/director makes sure we learn everything about cusack's character & past, even if it seems extraneous, i.e. cusack pouring booze onto his father's grave), & treats the professional killing thing as the unreal & funny & unknowable prop it is - something so cliched through years of gangster anti-heroes that it's hard to depict dramatically anymore. 'grosse pointe blank' can teach 'collateral' something about over-seriousness, about falling too much in love with gunfights & less with the dialogic shit in between. the comparison is a bit strained, come to think of it.

every performance is spot-on, both from the leads (cusack & minnie driver, who interact & work off each other on a chemical level that suggests utter mutual respect for one another as performers), & the bit-part players (cusack's ex-teacher, who features in one 90-second scene, is wonderfully sharp; dan ackroyd is viciously superb (watch for the scene between he & cusack over 'breakfast'); jeremy niven as cusack's angsty old high-school friend is fuckin hilarious (it's not surprising to find the two came through the theatre circuit together); etc etc.

so the gun-toting conclusion is a bit much. so the post-shootout marriage proposal is a bit much. who cares. there is so much to be excited about here. not least the discovery of what can happen when writers/directors/performers strive to combine genres & create a kinda dramatic overlap that says: laughs, action, & love in 90 minutes. you gotta see this film.

28 Comments:

Blogger poindexter said...

Yes - I liked this review - the reviewer has finally descended into full, bloody, violent acceptance of his own elite academic tendencies! Hooray!! But could we have the next review in iambic pentameter please? I am not alone in the desire for this. Also, could the reviewer please offer their opinion on the upcoming film of the hit musical 'Burke and Wills : Untold Love?" - there is a fantastic cameo from Dennis Quaid as The Ghan....

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does anyone here know the song being played while Martin is visiting his fathers grave

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