Friday, 29 January 2010

Life and death, film-wise

(Although I realise that (nearly) nobody actually reads this blog, I decided not to mind. Hope that whoever stumbles across it, will enjoy it.)

Catching up on my films. This week, two films.
First, A Serious Man by the Coen brothers.
Second, Shaun of the Dead by, um, Edgar Wright. (Okay, I had to look that up.)

Both very much man-films. And very, very different from each other but I knew that in advance.

Coen brothers are usually instant hits for me. I could rave now about Lebowski but I won't. However much I love that flick, my first impression of Coen films came from Fargo. I instantly fell in love with that one - the dialogues, the imagery, the way the persona were portrayed and especially how they all connected and interacted. The superb way the Coens handle these elements is something I recognize in all of their films I have seen since.
And then came A Serious Man.
I have to admit: I need to get used to it. Leaving aside the constant feeling of 'what has that poor man done to deserve this?' which actually enhanced the viewing pleasure in a strange way, I just felt a little lost. Just like poor Larry I suppose. Some of the dialogues were again brilliant, with the silences held by the actors in just the right places and especially for the right lengths of time.
Just like many other Coens films A Serious Man is a bit of a road movie of a kind. Please mind that I am stretching the term 'road movie' enormously here... I mean that the characters start off somewhere and then a current of events and coincidences and decisions (usually by other people) takes them along and all they can do is try to keep their head above water. (Maybe the term should be 'river movie'?) We saw that in Lebowski, Fargo, Burn after Reading and obviously in Oh Brother.
The aforementioned Coens elements are there in A Serious Man and it is, again, a 'river movie'. I have no doubt that in time I will learn to love this one too.

As for Shaun - ah, I was so very often told to see it. I never wanted to because I don't like films about undead and I especially hate films that make me jump. This week for some reason I just thought something along the lines of 'oh what the heck' and watched it. I enjoyed myself immensely. It has a perfect balance of originality and predictiveness in one carefully dosed package of excitement and tongue-in-cheek. With some very gratifying shots and twists. For example, you hope Wanker Davs is not going to make it through the film - and he doesn't. Hurray! Possibly the first time ever I cheered a disembowelment. Never too old to learn, eh?

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