2003 Milk Plus Droogies

Best Picture
Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Director
Quentin Tarantino, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Actor (tie)
Johnny Depp, Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Actor (tie)
Bill Murray, Lost in Translation

Best Actress
Uma Thurman, Kill Bill Vol. I

Best Supporting Actor
David Hyde Pierce, Down With Love

Best Supporting Actress
Miranda Richardson, Spider

Best Screenplay
Sofia Coppola, Lost in Translation

Best Foreign Film

Best Cinematography
Harris Savides, Gerry

Members' Marquees

Critical Contacts

Lobby Reading

The Video Store

Reel Resources

The Blog Bijou

-Admit One
-Artistic Delusions
-Belligerent Bunny's Bad Movie Shrine
-Beware of Blog
-The Brain Drain
Biancolo Notes
-The Big Ticket
-Bitter Cinema
-Black & White World
-Bull Durham's Hot Corner
-Brewed Fresh Daily
-Camille's Film Journal
-The Chutry Experiment
-Cineblog (II)
-Cine Club
-Cinegraphic.Net: The Avante-Garde Film and Video Blog
-Cinema 24
-Cinema News
-Il Cinema Secondo (Italian)
-Cineaste (Russian)
-Cinema Toast
-Concentrated Nonsense
-Confessions of an Indie Filmmaker
-Cult Movies I Dare You to Watch
-Cutting to the Chase
-Cynthia Rockwell's Waiting Room
-The Daily Despair
-The Daily Digest
-Day for Night
-Delta Sierra Arts
-Dinky's Docket
-Distorting the Medium
-Donald Melanson On Movies
-Electric Movies
-Fade In: Blog
-Feeling Listless
-Filmfilter (German)
-Filmtagebuch (German)
-Film Talk
-Five Easy Pieces
-Frank Booth
-A Girl and A Gun
-Glazed Donuts
-GreenCine Daily
-Harlequin Knights
-He Loved Him Some Movies
-The Hobo Reviews
-Hot Buttered Death
-Iggy's Movie Review Weblog
-Iguano Film Blog
-In Development
-Japanese Films' Journal
-Joe Sixpack's Film Blog
-Joe's Weblog & Film Project News
-Junk for Code
-Kumari's Movie Blog
-Lights Out Films
-Like Anna Karina's Sweater (Filmbrain)
-Listen Missy
-Magnolia Girl
-Marley's Ghost
-Media Yenta
-Michael I. Trent
-Moov Goog
-Motime Like the Present
-Movie Boy
-Movie Criticism For the Retarded
-A Movie Diary
-The Movie Generation
-The Movie Marketing Blog
-Movie Retard
-The Movie Review
-Moving Pictures
-Nando's Blog
-Netflix Fan
-Or Kill Me
-Out of Ambit
-Out of Focus
-Paolo - Cinema's Radio Weblog (Italian)
-Pigs and Battleships
-Plot Kicks In
-Pop Culture Junkies
-The Projector
-Qwipster's Movie Reviews
-Reel Reviews (Podcast)
-Reviews, Reviews, Reviews
-The Screening Room
-Screen Watcher
-Short and Sweet
-The Silver Screen
-Stinky Cinema
-Sunset Blvd
-Tagline: A Movie Weblog
Talking Pictures
Tea for One
-Tom Vick's Asian Cinema Blog
-Trailer Park
-Truly Bad Films
Waste of Tape
-Wayne's Movie Blog
Whippin Picadilly
Wittgenstein's Bunnies
-Yay! Movies!
McBain Recommends
-Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Kill Bill vol 2
Shroom Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Head On
Joker Recommends
-Top 20 List
-House of Flying Daggers
-The Aviator
-Bad Education
Yun-Fat Recommends
-Eight Diagram Pole Fighter
-Los Muertos
-Tropical Malady
Allyn Recommends
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
-Songs from the Second Floor
Phyrephox Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Design for Living (Lubitsch, 1933)
-War of the Worlds
-Howl's Moving Castle
Melisb Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Return
-Spirited Away
-Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter...And Spring
Wardpet Recommends
-Finding Nemo
-Man on the Train
-28 Days Later
Lorne Recommends
-21 Grams
-Cold Mountain
-Lost in Translation
Merlot Recommends
-Top 20 List
-The Man on the Train
-Safe Conduct
-The Statement
Whitney Recommends
-Femme Fatale
-Gangs of New York
-Grand Illusion
Sydhe Recommends
-In America
-Looney Tunes: Back In Action
-Whale Rider
Copywright Recommends
Top 20 List
-Flowers of Shanghai
-Road to Perdition
Stennie Recommends
Top 20 List
-A Matter of Life and Death
Rodney Recommends
Top 20 List
-The Pianist
-Talk to Her
Jeff Recommends
-Dial M for Murder
-The Game
-Star Wars Saga
Lady Wakasa Recommends
-Dracula: Page from a Virgin's Diary
-Dr. Mabuse, Der Spieler
-The Last Laugh
Steve Recommends
-Top 20 List
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
-Princess Raccoon
Jenny Recommends
-Mean Girls
-Super Size Me
-The Warriors
Jason Recommends
Top 20 List
-Old Boy
-Million Dollar Baby
-Head On
Lons Recommends
-Before Sunset
-The Incredibles

Powered by Blogger Pro™

links open windows

(c)2002 Design by Blogscapes.com

The Blog:
Thursday, November 07, 2002

Bloody Sunday

A work of art hasn't made me this angry since I read Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart; I left the theater in blind rage at the injustice of it all. Agitprop in the best sense of the word, the film played me like a well-plucked guitar, striking the right chords with my leftist tendencies, Republican sympathies (Irish Republican sympathies that is), and general disappointment with the outcome of the midterm election (though I don't know why I should be so disappointed, Bill Clinton finished the job of selling-out the liberal wing of the Democratic party, and how much does it really matter anymore, we live under a hopelessly corrupt, corporate plutocracy, I mean, the federal government and the media is preparing to crucify Martha Stewart for the relatively benign crime of insider trading, but Kenneth Lay walks around without even an indictment; only a few politicians left have any real integrity, and one of them died last week in a plane crash, even my Congresswoman, Tammy Baldwin, the only openly gay woman in Congress, is beholden to the truckloads of money from out of state that keep her competitive outside of the Madison city limits). But I also saw the darker, current parallels with the situation in Israel, and the probable, nightmarish future of the US, post-next major terrorist attack (looking into the future what do I see: Muslim citizens should probably kiss their civil rights away, the possible repeal of Posse Comitatus, the return of something like the Sedition Act; why not stuff like this always crops up during wartime, and that's where we are heading, a state of perpetual warfare and occupation). Well, enough with my crazy political rant, this is starting to sound like a real blog post!

Bloody Sunday is a chilling recreation of the eponymous events in the Bogside in 1972; it's a docudrama in the best sense of the word, fusing the distinct possiblities of documentary cinema (the sense of immediacy) with narrative cinema (unfettered access). You sit there waiting, watching the episodic narrative unfold, waiting for the inevitable, bloody events; it's something of handicap for an artwork to overcome, especially artworks rooted in well-known historical narratives, where the outcome is already well-known. Michael Mann's Ali, while somewhat interesting, failed in this regard, there was no real sense of suspense during the fore-ordained outcome, because it did not real focus on the details and failed to establish any real connection with the characters (I admired Will Smith and Jon Voight's performances, but I wasn't particularly moved by them). Details, details, detail, and great performances are key to making these types of films work (also pacing, that always helps). Personally, I haven't really sat watching a movie or TV show with this kind of pit in my stomach since I re-watched a Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode called "Seeing Red," waiting for the inevitable, tragic conclusion.

The film is probably the most notable for it's style, simulating a cinema-verite type documentary, especially one made with during that era on 16mm film (the film has a relatively grainy, washed out look) with that strange, sound quality reminiscent of that one sound-guy with the Nagra and shotgun mike, trailing behind the camera man who's constantly bouncing the camera around, zooming in, changing focus, and panning about. The film even adapts a documentary-like narrative technique, with the frequent cuts to and from black, as if the footage was cobbled together out of a much larger shooting ratio. The film focuses in on a few characters over a 24 hour span, as the march organizers, led by Protestant civil rights advocate, and MP, Ivan Cooper (James Nesbitt, in a terrific performance), try to plan and orchestrate their peaceful civil rights march, and act paralleled by the equally concerted attempts by the British authorities to thwart any possible protest against Unionist rule, as well as prevent, or is it avenge, a recent upsurge in British casualties (though the Brigadier whose actually in charge of the operation, seems none to pleased with his appointed task, especially with the priggish Major General breathing down his neck). While most of the film focuses on the behind the leadership of the two sides, the director Paul Greengrass, also takes his camera into the frontlines, focusing on the young, unnecessarily foolish, angry Catholic men on one-side, and the rather gung-ho, Paras on the other side (one point, when has it ever been a good idea to task professional soldiers with law enforcement duties? When is a rock, which can cause, what a big gash or concussion to the heavily armed, and armored soldiers, ever an equal trade-off with a 7.62mm bullet?). In particular, the film focuses on one of the Bloody Sunday victims, a man recently out of jail with a Protestant girlfriend, as well as an British private who is more than a little ambivalent about his regiment's entire sense of purpose in Northern Ireland (other than the Brigadier, who rapidly loses control of the situation on the ground from the insulation of his CP, like the American general in Blackhawk Down, though this clusterfuck is hardly the time or place for a revisionist rah-rah celebration, he is the only really sympathetic British character in the film, I can of even felt sorry for him during the initial inquiry, as he hesitates, before ultimately caving in).

Greengrass is clearly sympathetic to the marcher's version of events, which is pretty easy to do, considering the fact that 13 unarmed civilians were gunned down in the street, but he at least attempts to convey the rapid deteriotation of the situation from the British point of view, the reign of confusion, with small groups of Paras, armed with assault rifles, effectively seperated from each other and their commanders (who outright blundered by being so confrontational, and who, like several of the Paras, should be brought up on war crimes charges; let's hope the Saville inquiry actually does it's job), and left to their own devices, began shooting indiscriminately (one superior officer ruefully noted that the most gung-ho of the Paras managed to discharge 22 rounds, more than that superior even issued to him). We even get glimpses of two of the marchers actually pulling guns, one with a rifle, the other with a pistol, that he even manages to shoot at the Paras before being wrestled to the ground by the other marchers. Of course, the army spin is patently ridiculous, and it would be no surprise to me if they actually did resort to planting charges on the dead bodies as part of a cover-up (you know, mass murder looks bad).

One final topic, James Nesbitt's performance is key to the film. A Protestant who realizes how unfair the British treatment of the Catholic minority is, and is willing to do something about it. An idealist who cites the example of Gandhi and Martin Luther King, he's also a consummate glad-hander politican, affable, seemingly knowing everyone in the Bogside by name, pressing the flesh, making good-hearted jokes at his own expense, interceding on other's behalf. He's a whirlwind of committed energy. I empathized with his character with his characters plight, how the events of Bloody Sunday absolutely crushed him, leaving him dazed, bitter, and angry. He's right, if I had been in Northern Ireland at that time too, I would have probably joined the lads in line also.