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outrageous film reviewer
Grizzly Man



This is a documentary about Timothy Treadwell, a man who lived among bears for 13 summers straight until his demise in 2003 at the hands of a bear.

The only word that can be used to describe this documentary is disturbing. There is no silver lining to this documentary. It is all very sad. It is directed by Werner Herzog and by looking at his filmography you can tell why this subject interested him. The film has a very grim look at life.The true tragedy of this documentary is the subject himself. He is a failed actor from California. A failed audition for a part he really wanted is what finally broke him. So he decided to leave California and head to Alaska bear sanctuary and live around bears. In the beginning of the documentary it feels like he is a crazy person who lost his way in life and is just wandering through jungle and could be killed at any moment. But slowly you realize that the artist in him had to come out anyway it can. Its very sad. He couldn't get acting jobs in California and so he went to Alaska in search of a place where he could feel special and unique compared to millions of failed artists in California. So he decided to do something that most people wouldn't dare try. That's the core of artists mindset. They want to do something that gets attention. But the price they are willing pay is what differentiates normal people who can never achieve insane amount of wealth and fame from artists who do.

The whole sanctuary is pretty dangerous. It is in the middle of nowhere and its vast. The beautiful landscape is in stark contrast to the deadly wildlife that lives in it. The thing about bears is that they don't particularly look scary by themselves. But they are some of the most dangerous predators on the planet. Something like a Tiger or a Lion don't look at human's as food. They are very territorial and their goal is to subdue whoever enters their land. So big cats maul. But bears are the only land animals that look at human's as food. The thing about wild animals, especially bears is that they are ruthless and in-compassionate. When they look at you, they don't look at a friend or an acquaintance even though you have been around them for years. They look at you either as a prey or non-prey. The same thing happened to Timothy. He went there for several years but all along he was just a new unknown thing to them. That's the unique thing this documentary brought to the medium. Most wildlife national geographic documentaries are dispassionate about putting their fingers on ruthlessness of nature because they fear losing support from humans in supporting wildlife both financially and ecologically. But Werner Herzog is not that. He is a filmmaker that wants to say what he wants to say.

Midway through the movie Herzog shows the footage of two wild bears fight for dominance. It is the most aggressive,primal and raw bear fight ever captured on camera. One has to follow bears for 100s of hours to get a footage like that. The fight is so brutal that you can see the fur on their skin being ripped apart and fall down. Moreover one of the bears takes a crap mid fight and keeps going. What the filmmakers intend to show through this footage is just how ruthless the bears are and they are nothing more than a wild animal that either kills you or doesn't. Bears are huge. One of the main things the director explores through the movie is the disconnect between humans and animals and why its all for nothing. Throughout his stay in Alaska, Timothy thought that he is helping and saving the bears. But what he failed to realize is that his desire to help or save bears is extremely superficial and selfish. He wanted to feel special and has a higher purpose. So he started pretending like he is taking care of bears. He might be honest to himself but as a whole it felt very self servicing. As someone in the documentary put it, he did more harm than good being there.

When I watched this documentary I didn't know how famous this guy was. Apparently he is a bit famous. He appeared on Letterman show. So due to his popularity there is certain intrigue in the way he was killed and people started to look for the mysterious circumstances in which he was killed and mythical irony in all this. So I was genuinely surprised to see lot of conspiracy articles on the web related to his death. Here are the facts. On the day of his death he was accompanied by his girlfriend. It is the end of spring. So they have to leave because of the climate, bears go into hibernation and he has no purpose staying there. Since he has been living there for several years, he is able to identify and distinguish different bears. Some are more friendlier than others. As the legend goes, on the last day of his stay there Timothy got into a fight with an airline attendant and decided to get back to the park and stay there for a week and then leave the sanctuary. So, him and his girlfriend camp in a location which is essentially a grizzly maze. By doing so they are at the park later than usual.They should have left the sanctuary by then. What apparently happened is, all the bears they knew went into hibernation and a number of new bears started moving into the location that late into the year. Ironically one of the last bears timothy captured in his video footage seems to be struggling to catch a fish and had to swim deep into water to get a dead salmon. That in a way indicates desperation in the bear and hunger. The speculation is that the last bear he caught in his camera footage is the one that killed him. Bear tend to eat a lot of food before hibernation. The conspiracies come from the fact that had he not gone back to the sanctuary he would have survived and fate made him to go back. Moreover it was just a day before he asked a passenger flight to come pick him up. So freedom was so close when he lost his life.

My theory is this. He is a guy who for his own selfish reasons went to Alaska. He wanted attention because he is an artist at heart. If not hollywood he will go find fame somewhere else. Once in Alaska, going into sanctuary with guns seemed too tame for him. He wanted to feel more special than any human alive so he threw safety out of the window. Theoretically speaking, going from california to alaska is too big of a lifestyle leap for his fate to catch up. So he entered Alaska with a lot of luck. I mean, what are the odds that a struggling actor in Los Angeles will end up in Alaska. So, for god to rearrange his fate and time of death it took 13 years. Once inside the sanctuary, he went unnoticed because bears already have been living without him and so they didn't need him. Moreover they had plenty of food. The footage over multiple years contains lot of videos where he is sad and frustrated. But the reasons for frustration is not what he says it is. He is a guy who is mad at the world for dealing him a bad hand, but he claims to be angry over the treatment of wildlife by humans. It almost feels like he doesnt wanna face the truth that he is a failed artist. On the fateful day it was a combination of his personal demons bubbling to the surface along with his girlfriend being unsatisfied with his life that led him to test his luck by setting up a tent in grizzly maze. It is always advised to set up tents where bears can see them from far so that they can stay away from the tents. But setting up in the grizzly maze means that the bear won't see the tent until its too close. All these circumstances fell in place for a hungry grizzly to eat him and his girlfriend. A hungry desperate bear is the most dangerous predator. The way they operate is simple. Once they are hungry, they come and snatch a person with no hesitation. Bear is the only predator that keeps charging even if it hears a gunshot. They just wander and wander nearby and suddenly they come and snatch you away. So before they knew it, Timothy and his girlfriend were eaten by grizzly. I was never surprised that his girlfriend died while trying to protect Timothy instead of escaping because a girl who dates a guy like Timothy and willing to spend several days with him in a bear infested sanctuary is already screwed up in the head. So the only rational way it could have ended is what happened in the real life.



Interesting review @aronisred. I can see you put a lot of thought into it. Based on your review, I don't know that I want to see the movie of this ill fated Grizzly Man. As a nature lover myself, I' ve always been wary of the type of person who claims to have a rapport or mastery over wild animals that goes beyond the animal 's circle of safety ( their safety, not ours). People like this man, Steve Irwin and Segfried and Roy, imo overstep the bounds of what should be a respectful but guarded relationship between man(kind) and beast. It's still sad when these folks have a harmful or tragic experience, but not unforeseen .

Btw I have always considered bears to be the most fearsome of any animal I might encounter on my nature walks, whether locally or in national parks. . Fortunately I have never encountered a grizzly, but I sure strive to give even a black bear a wide berth.

Well, thanks for informing me about this movie. Btw I think your post really should be in the Movie Review threads or perhaps the Rate the Last Movie You Saw thread. You may want to ask Yoda to place it there, or just post your reviews there in the future, so more people can enjoy reading them.



Ah - that was quick. Glad to see the review re-posted here. And I suspect the thanks go to @Yoda.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Tucker: The Man and His Dream



The story of Preston Tucker as he realizes his dream of making cars with innovative revolutionary ideas.

This is a rise and fall story. Francis Ford Coppola decided to keep the tone of the movie lighter. That is one of the biggest drawbacks of the movie. The bare-bones story in the movie involves a semi-wealthy entrepreneur who had some success making army gear tries to venture into car manufacturing industry. His dream consists of putting engine in the back of the car and enhance the safety regulations in the cars. So he decided to make those cars and sell them in large scale. Over the course of realizing his dream he faces hurdles in terms of meeting deadlines and intervention from politicians with ties to rival auto companies.

Throughout the movie I kept feeling that he didn't struggle enough for his dreams. When certain rise and fall stories don't have the dramatic punch needed then it is better to leave them alone as opposed to make a movie about them. I honestly didn't see a movie in the story. The general argument against such criticism is not to critique a movie negatively just because it didn't give you what you wanted. But I disagree. Movie's success can be measured in terms of memorability and box office. Any movie that is infinitely re-watchable is worth making. But middle of the road movies like this are simply not worth making. The movie is weirdly goofy. It starts with a semi documentary footage that gives exposition about the background of the Tucker. So, to begin with, this guy is already rich. Throughout the movie you never get the feeling that this guy is incredibly obsessed about his vision. His obsession may be a truthful portrayal but not cinematic enough.

The movie has positives in terms of entertainment value but the emotional dramatic wow factor is sorely missing in the movie. I think this movie in part sums up Francis ford Coppola's career. He is a very primal director. Godfather movies are a series of escalating chess moves with deadly consequences. They sort of show how American is born through the lens of ruthless gangster violence. Apocalypse now shows a very primal view of war and how if affects people. There are no logistical jargon or military mambo jambo in the movie. Once it starts it just becomes about a soldier traveling to reach his destination. Those two genres have enough flesh on the bones without including the technical jargon to overcome the superficial nature of the approach of the movie. But something like Car manufacturing or racing is a genre where the real meat is on the race tracks/automobiles. The moment you focus on court cases or business dealings, it becomes a generic movie. This movie falls into that trap and forgets about what makes cars unique. Scripts should be written with that in mind. But I think Coppola thought he was being clever because he is telling this story and drawing parallels to the process of movie making and how people who have no skills in the field of car making/filmmaking take over the company from under the noses of filmmakers/car makers and run them into the ground. But the problem with that is the movie way too convenient for its own good and it just doesn't cut it. A movie about a man's dream to build a new car is just too normal. It is not even about invention of the first car. It is just another car. The guy has roof over the head and food on the table . So it doesn't even feel like everything was taken away from him.

The most bad-ass part of car racing/manufacturing involves pit crew. They are grease monkeys who are some of the most skilled drivers as they have to test drive and work on unfinished cars. This movie relegates then to marginal characters with no screen time given to various phases of car manufacturing. I think it's partly because the thing they are making is just another design of a car. I think the movie feels more like its about a guy who ruffles feathers where he is not supposed to and not about someone who has this grand vision and is trying to make it happen. He saw that the cars could be improved and decided to make them where as his far more powerful and established competitors don't want that to happen. I partly watched this movie because of Ford v. Ferrari movie coming up. I just hope that the movie doesn't turn into anything like this. That's why it is so hard to make a great movie about racing without making it look generic. You try and search for drama in elements other than racing and the more you do it the more generic it becomes. Apart from that its a safe watch.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Tumbbad



I watched this movie based on a recommendation from someone who's seen it at Fantastic fest in Alamo drafthouse. It is a morality tale on greed but it is disguised as fantasy horror.

The review for this movie could easily go in lot of different directions. So I would like to keep it focused. The movie is based on a made up folklore. To my surprise, despite being made up it is very rich. It is very hard to poke holes at the mythology. According to it, the goddess of wealth and food curses her oldest son,Hastar for being extremely greedy and trying to steal both gold and grain. As part of the curse he is erased from history books and is hidden in her womb. The curse prevents him from accessing any form of food but he gets to keep the gold since he stole it already. So it is as if he never existed. A long time later a family finds out about him and starts worshipping him. All the rest of the children of the goddess, who themselves are gods are angry that this forgotten son is being worshipped and starts raining on the village,Tumbbad ever since. So the family and the village to certain extent is facing the wrath of gods.

The movie is split into 3 parts based on different stages in the life of our protagonist. His name is Vinayk. I think his point of view is the best way into this story. Part 1, when Vinayk is a teenager we learn that his mother is a young widow and she is giving sexual favors to an old man for over a decade in exchange for financial support. But the old man, who happens to be the heir of a wealthy family has been careless with his spendings and used up all the family wealth. The only thing left is a gold coin that the woman is hoping to earn for her service. In a way she is grasping at straws by that point.It turns out that the old man is the descendent of the family that worshipped Hastar and brought down curse upon the village. This family has a dark secret that is eventually revealed over the course of the movie. What we do know is that the old man has spent his entire life trying to find treasure that is rumored to be buried under the family mansion. But it is nowhere to be found. Vinayk's mom is tasked with feeding the great grandmother of the old man who is suffering from some sort of mysterious condition but is miraculously alive for few centuries. The grandmother stays isolated in a locked room in an outhouse away from the mansion that is used by Vinayk's family. The old woman is considered dangerous and is chained to the wall. She is fed and occasionally when she wakes up the family is told to utter a phrase involving Hastar to put her back to sleep. After the death of Old man and before Vinayk's family could leave the town, Vinayk's younger brother is involved in an accident. When the mother takes the younger son to doctor, she leaves Vinayk alone in the house to feed the old woman and tells him to use the name Hastar if the Old woman tries to attack him. But unfortunately he forgets the name and gets into trouble with the Old woman. She is horribly disfigured and before she could eat him he recollects the name Hastar and uses it to put her to sleep. From this encounter we realize that the old woman is under some kind of curse and vinayk also learns that the old woman knows about the treasure in the mansion. The mother returns home with the news of her son's death and they leave the village next morning with vinayk being forced by his mother to take an oath to never return to the village. During this first part we notice that Vinayk is a very selfish person even at a young age and also very greedy. He doesn't even care for the safety of his brother before his death. The only reason he gets into trouble with the old woman is because she was able to lure him into her room using her knowledge of the treasure.

Part 2, the most important part of the movie. A 20 something Vinayk is seen returning to the village after 15 years and the first place he visits is his old house. By this point the house is consumed by flora. There are twigs and branches everywhere. In all this he is able to find his grandmother who is pinned to the ground by a tree growing out of her rendering her immobile and still alive. He gets information regarding the treasure in exchange for freeing her from the curse by burning her alive. The brilliancy of the script is that at this point in the movie we see him searching for the entrance to the treasure chest based on the information given by the grandmother and once he finds it the movie cuts back to his home in another village. What we do notice is that he returns with gold coins. This introduces us to the second most important relationship in the movie, the first being between the treasure and vinayk. This is between a money lender and vinayk. The reason why this relationship works so well is because its complicated and it revolves around wealth. One of the catalysts apart from greed that forces vinayak to go back to his house are his debts. So when he comes back with gold coins and clears the debt this gets the attention of money lender. As time passes by, in just a few weeks tables turns and the money lender owes money to vinayk for his gold coins. The character of the money lender is very greedy. We see him trying to fish for information regarding the source of the gold coins but he doesn't get anything from Vinayk. On occasions even Vinayk offers to give him financial assistance if needed. But the money lender is too greedy for his own good. He wants in on Vinayk's source. By this point in the movie we do realize that Vinayk is busy with his own life and he is extremely wealthy and indulging himself in all vices. He is not too bothered about Money lender pestering him for his income source. But the straw that broke the camel's back is when he realizes that the Money lender tries to trick him into not leaving the town for 2 days by sending a woman to his house to seduce him. He immediately connects the dots and concludes that the money lender went to the mansion for treasure. This poses a real threat to Vinayk. So he goes to the mansion as well. What follows next is a 5 - 10 minute sequence that is the highlight of the movie. Vinayk lures the money lender into a well by acting as if he didn't notice anyone in the mansion and he is just going on about his job. So , it is through the eyes of the money lender that we get the first glimpse into the treasure chest. The brilliance of the movie is that until this point we see that Vinayk has found the path to the treasure and he is able to get the treasure in small amounts each time but we don't know why or how. The money lender climbs down a giant sphere made out of flesh with walls covered in blood and it seems to be moving. By this point the money lender is completely consumed by greed that he forgets that the "treasure" if exists belongs to Vinayk since it's his ancestral house and he crosses so many lines of betrayal, self preservation and fear of the unknown to reach there. All he can see at the point is a small box on the floor. Even at that point he had a chance to just walk away. But his greed forces him to open the box and sees a doll made out of flour in there. Once the doll is taken out of the box something snatches him up into the walls and we hear him screaming for his life. A while later we see Vinayk descend into the sphere and shows us how it's done. The big reveal is that the sphere happens to be the womb of the goddess and since she hides hastar from millions of his angry sibling gods trying to kill him, he is hiding in the walls of the womb. Due to the curse he can't have food. But he can have it if someone offers it to him. Apparently flour on its own is not considered food. But flour mixed with water is considered food. So vinayak draws a circle with flour and stays in it because hastar can't enter the circle and the he lures Hastar with the doll from the box and once Hastar is busy eating the doll he steals the coins from the loin cloth of hastar and climbs out of the womb before he is done eating and closes the door to the womb. The way Hastar is depicted in the movie is very interesting. He is treated as a cursed god. So his actions are very primal and he is the ultimate embodiment of greed. The moment you show him the doll , you get his full attention and he will attack and kill you for it . The reason he tries to attack whoever is in the womb after he is done eating is because they stole his gold coins. Since the money lender accidentally offers the doll by opening the box, Hastar attacks him and eats the doll. Who ever is bitten by Hastar inherits his curse of living forever and being hungry all the time but they are disfigured in the process.In a way they are his slaves and they fear him . The only way they can be freed from the curse is by burning them. Once the door is closed , Hastar is gone. This bring us to the back story of the grandmother from part 1. Throughout the movie we see crumbs of what could have happened along the family lineage. My theory based upon what is presented throughout the movies is as follows. So, a long time ago one of the members of the family must have found the entrance to the womb. Something must have happened that resulted in the family figuring out that a touch from the god could curse anyone but at the same time you can steal from the god if he is distracted long enough. Generation after generation the family lineage must have been consumed by greed and stole the gold from the god. You can even see the lengths to which the families went to retrieve gold coins from the womb. The grandmother is a casualty of the hunger for gold. Here is what could have happened to her. Once her husband dies she is forced to be one of the one's who go into the womb to fetch the gold in exchange for sparing her from being banished from the village. That is what used to happen to women after their husband's death back in the day. We also see paintings of women fully covered in clothing with just their faces exposed grinding flour on the walls of the mansion. So the family lineage for generations must have not banished their widows and instead used them to get gold from the womb. How fricking disturbing is that. The cycle ended with the grandmother. It looks like when she is bitten, someone must have decided that they have had enough and closed the path to the womb and hid it by building a well along the path. So the stealing of gold must have stopped once the grand mother is bitten by Hastar. In addition to that they decided they couldn't kill her because of pity and so they left her alive by feeding her for generations. They also stopped passing on the information to future generations regarding the womb. So the secret died with the generation that spared the grandmother until the grandmother reveals the information to Vinayk. But one key thing to remember is that they are dealing with a god. It is not from this world. They are essentially stealing from a god by tempting him with food. Vinayk is just following a set of rules made by humans to deal with something supernatural.

Part 3, this part picks up a decade after vinayk has eliminated the money lender and now he has a son. Vinayk has indulged himself in all forms of vices and is recognizing that he is getting too old to continue going into the womb. Because the task is so physical. One of the things that makes Vinayk such a great anti-hero and protagonist of the movie is his obsession and courage. Every time he goes into the womb he is risking his life. A lot of things have to go right for him to survive each time. The rope can't break, he can't slip while climbing, he can't be too slow for Hastar to catch him and he can't afford to be unprepared when hastar notices the flour doll. All this takes practice and preparation. So in a way he earned that gold. When the time comes for him to pass on these duties to his son he expects his son to be prepared. But a life full of wealth and decadence has made him an abusive parent and uncaring husband. The curse from the god has manifested itself into a slight leg disability in their son. In a way the gods who attacked Hastar are cursing Vinayk for taking the gold by making his son slightly disabled. But nonetheless he doesn't get the cue and takes his son with him to the womb after he has had practice. But what we notice is that his son is greedier than him. We notice the son exhibiting very bad tendencies from a very early age. He put their whole mission at jeopardy when he brings the doll on a trial run. He steals coins from Hastar during his very first trial run when Vinayk is unprepared. So we immediately notice that the greed is growing with generations. But Vinayk just considers it an anomaly. The unlimited supply of wealth has made Vinayk out of touch with reality that he forgets India has got independence. Due to the new laws from Indian government the mansion will be demolished and a village will be built in that area. The son being his greedy self suggest that they take multiple dolls with them so that they can buy enough time to steal as much gold as they can. These two events act as catalysts for Vinayk to loose his sense of caution and give in to his greed by taking lot of dolls into the womb along with his son. But since he doesn't fully know what he is dealing with , for each doll they bring, a new Hastar appears. So they get overwhelmed by a lot of Hastars essentials making their escape impossible. So Vinayk must make a choice between saving his own life or saving his son's life. By that point he is forced to face his greed that has consumed him his whole adult life. He finally decides to sacrifice himself by using himself as bait and luring all the hastars outside the womb and kill them with flour. This clears up the route for his son to get out of the womb. Once his son reaches the surface he witnesses his father transform into his
cursed self and this finally makes his son give up on the gold leave the mansion once for all.

So the genius of the movie is that it is a fable taking place in real time. The lead in the movie is such an awesome character because he goes into this nightmare and comes out alive for such a long time until his greed gets the better of him. You see how long a layman survives in there using the example of money lender. He couldn't even climb down the rope properly and falls down. Imagine the first time Vinayk had to encounter Hastar , what a nightmare that must have been to climb out knowing that , that thing is after you. So he overcame all that all by himself and risked his life. At the same time he is incredibly misogynistic and treats his family as ****. All this makes for a very interesting descent into the darkness of human psyche. The movie is very atmospheric.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Once Upon a time in...Hollywood



A slice in the life of fading TV star and his stunt double in the months leading up to Charles Manson murders in 1969 Hollywood, Los Angeles.

So, when I first watched the movie I kinda hated it. Felt it was pretty meandering and boring. But on the second watch I didn't feel like I wanted to kill myself at all. It was kinda entertaining. One of the reasons I didn't like it the first time around is because it was not the kind of movie I was expecting it to be. There are only two spectacles in Tarantino's career until now. Inglourious Basterds and Django Unchained. Both of them are made for close to 100 million $. So when I heard that the budget of this movie is close to 100 million $ I thought that it was gonna be a spectacle but it ended up being more of a hang out movie. Most of the money went into world building that kinda fades into background as the story takes place. So you will see shots of Los Angeles as it looked like in 1969 but its not spectacularly different from present. There is that contradiction at the middle of this movie.So it's basically a 90 million $ death proof.

In real life the Sharon Tate-Manson murders are very much a surprise to Hollywood. Hollywood is a weird place to work. It is cutthroat. People are nice in front of you and stab you in the back. So they have their own stuff to deal with. Moreover the Manson murders are so random that it caught the victims off guard. The movie treats it just like that. It doesn't build up to any murder or to a grand finale involving manson. It's more of a footnote to the story. Charles manson is in the movie for 30 seconds only.

The movie takes place over the course of 3 days in 1969. The first 2 days are back to back. The third day is 6 months later on August 8th 1969 aka the day of the tate-labianca murders. Most of the story takes place in the first 2 days. We follow fading TV actor Rick Dalton(DiCaprio) and his Stunt Double Cliff Booth(Pitt) as they slowly realize that first they are in very bad place in hollywood with less career opportunities than ever before and they are not able to recognize the changing landscape around them both in terms of the friends they made in the past and the way people that succeed them operate like hippies on street or younger actors on set. One realizes while shooting a TV show and through his agent whereas the other learns it through his adventures in Los Angeles & on movie sets. They decides to leave for Italy by the end of 2 days to make italian westerns for six months and come back on the day of the murders.

The movie has no plot. It has scenes with characters doing stuff. Some scenes work where as some don't. There is a scene in the middle where Pitt hitches a ride to a woman who happens to be part of manson family and once they get to the Spahn ranch where she is staying there is a tense scene that lasts for 10 minutes which felt very mexican standoffish and it works. The scenes with Rick Dalton are good but not as good as one's with Cliff Booth because they mostly consisted of him struggling to act and finally deciding to avoid the embarrassment he faced on the set that day by going to a different country where he is still kinda famous. Almost all of the memorable scenes in the movie come from Cliff Booth even in the ending. He also has a scene with Bruce Lee where they dare each other to fight. Its cool. But there is no connective arc to the movie and Sharon Tate's character felt unnecessary. Because nothing dramatic or major happens with her character. She is just living her life. There are a lot of movies within movie and TV shows within movie and they have been used to a point of unnecessity because even on my second watch I felt that the movie dragged a lot. Tarantino must have been interested in them but not audience.

The movie that most reminded me of this was Adam Mckay's Vice. There are narrations and scenes within scenes that feel cute upto a certain point and works but this movie kinda runs them into the ground. Same thing happens with narration.If you live in Los Angeles then you will feel like you are being transported mildly to a time and place that's different. But beyond few neon signs on streets and few stores with old designs and looks, Los Angeles is not much different between 1969 and 2019. I enjoyed it more on a second watch but still felt quite a few parts of movie to be boring and meandering. The ending is violent and bloody and played for only laughs. No more comments on that in this section of review. It's one of his weaker movies.

Order from best to worst
Inglourious Basterds
Django Unchained
Pulp Fiction
Hateful Eight
Jackie Brown
Kill Bill 1 & 2
Once upon a time in...Hollywood
Reservoir Dogs
Death Proof



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Memento



A man with short term memory loss tries to take revenge on the person who raped and murdered his wife and injured him(that led to his condition).

The movie switches between two storylines. One is a linear story told from the perspective of the protagonist, who obviously suffers from memory loss issues and the other is told backwards in chunks of 3-10 minute scenes, so in this second storyline, the ending is the beginning. By now many people have dissected the story to death, so I will keep it simple, as far as plot is concerned. It's the story of a man's revenge who is incapable of remembering that he ever exacted his revenge even if he did. So, over the course of the movie we realize that lot of shady characters are taking advantage of his situation for their benefit. Over the course of the movie we see him figuring out what he has done few minutes ago either with the help of polaroids or instinctively or spontaneously and use that knowledge to work forward, this makes for a very interesting thriller. It also helps us in understanding his condition because we know about things just the way he does. So we know what is happening now without knowing what happened before it. The twist in the movie left me a little cold because of its semi-conventional nature and also because the movie lays the blame on the protagonist himself for various puzzle pieces in the mystery at the heart of the movie. Nonetheless, it's a very thrilling movie and a must see.

Now the aspect of the movie I do want to elaborate is the concept of protagonist in the movie and the tone and feel of the movie. For a while now I have been trying to find a common theme/aspect among all the movies that become memorable over time with very strong ardent fan base and the one thing I can think of is the concept of a hero or anti-hero. No movie without a clear cut hero/anti-hero has never gained strong fan base especially with men. Audience need 1 character to follow for significant portion of the movie. You can follow other characters for 5 or 10 minutes but not the whole movie. This concept is nowhere more apparent than with the filmography of christopher nolan. The "limitations" of this hero concept is that the more heroic the protagonist is the better the movie feels. If the hero of the story is a bum then the movie doesn't work for general audience. But as long as a director is capable of making the protagonist feel heroic/anti-heroic at the end of the day, the movie works. I personally think the protagonist in this movie, Leonard Shelby played by Guy Pearce is one of best in movies ever.

Let's see the physical aspects of the protagonist. He is ripped as hell, he is blonde, he has a very defined cheekbones, he has the right amount of tattoos on his body and his dress is bluish grayish shirt and coat. I mean, that's the perfect dress code for a hero in a movie. He even has a polaroid camera that he carries around with him and hides in his jacket with a shoulder strap which looks so cool. And he also beats up and subdues two guys that are bigger than him. His psychological problems as too complicated and too specific that they stop feeling like a disability and start feeling, dare I say sexy and makes him unique. It's like having different colored pupil. The hurdles and challenges faced by protagonist never feel like something faced by a lazy person or bum, they feel more like obstacles faced by a detective while solving a crime. That is genius. So even his struggle to get to the next moment in the day feels like watching a perfectly abled and smart person figuring out stuff. As the character says in the movie, it takes discipline to make it work. Chris Nolan seems to believe that no matter how absurd or unfortunate condition you are in, it is how you react to that situation/challenge that will either make you are hero to root for or a loser. There is a really unique and weirdly badass scene where the protagonist forgets why he is running while running and he looks at a man running parallely to him on the other side of a van, so first he thinks he is chasing that guy and then once he is getting shot at, he realizes he is being chased. In this movie Chris Nolan expertly familiarizes audience with the protagonist's memory condition by showing us scenes where doctors try to treat a patient with the same condition and also by showing how the hero deals with it. That's something we often see in Nolan movies. Never introduce a strange concept to audience and end the movie with just basics in that concept. Always take audience 2 or 3 steps further into the concept. Its like, if you introduce audience to alphabets then end the movie after showing them how paragraphs and sentences work. So they will feel like they are experts in something new and that's a good feeling to leave audience with. So with this techniques Nolan makes the protagonist feel more badass than most other movie heroes and all his emotions feel earned.

Speaking of the tone and feel of the movie, this is an independent movie made for less than 10 million $. But it never feels cheap. Even to this day it feels very rich. The locations in the movie are very specific and are in close ups so you don't see any structures that can date the movie. The brooding protagonist and locations in the movie went on to become the indicators of auteur style of nolan in his future filmography. You can make an indie drama with same budget and feel cheap. But I think its the combination of locations in the movie(San francisco/LA/Las vegas), the look of the protagonist and characters in the movie and the cinematography(both day and night) in the movie made the movie look much richer than its budget can afford. Even the protagonist's car is a Jaguar xk8 and it looks so cool.

So, in conclusion, this is a freaking great movie and its the work of a master filmmaker. He is not only thinking about how it will look at the time he made the movie but also about how it will look in the future. Many filmmakers are just happy to have made the movie but only the ones who are confident of their vision and legacy will take these kind of things into consideration. It also shows that unique singular visions can have heroes and anti-heroes. Many of the indie directors that want to be auteurs try to make ensemble movies. The downside of this move is, vast majority of the audience, especially men between 15-40 dont like that. They want a hero/anti-hero in the story to root for and once they achieve their goal or purpose, endorphins/adrenaline will be released in audience and THAT is what makes them a lifelong diehard fans of the movie. They seeks those reactions everytime they watch the movie. It's like a drug you get while watching the movie and Chris Nolan movies offer that.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Memento



A man with short term memory loss tries to take revenge on the person who raped and murdered his wife and injured him(that led to his condition).

The movie switches between two storylines. One is a linear story told from the perspective of the protagonist, who obviously suffers from memory loss issues and the other is told backwards in chunks of 3-10 minute scenes, so in this second storyline, the ending is the beginning. By now many people have dissected the story to death, so I will keep it simple, as far as plot is concerned. It's the story of a man's revenge who is incapable of remembering that he ever exacted his revenge incase he ever did get his revenge. So, over the course of the movie we realize that lot of shady characters are taking advantage of his situation for their benefit. Over the course of the movie we see him figuring out what he has done few minutes ago either with the help of polaroids or instinctively or spontaneously and use that knowledge to work forward, this makes for a very interesting thriller. It also helps us in understanding his condition because we know about things just the way he does. So we know what is happening now without knowing what happened before it. The twist in the movie left me a little cold because of its semi-conventional nature and also because the movie lays the blame on the protagonist himself for various puzzle pieces in the mystery at the heart of the movie. Nonetheless, it's a very thrilling movie and a must see.

Now the aspect of the movie I do want to elaborate is the concept of protagonist in the movie and the tone and feel of the movie. For a while now I have been trying to find a common theme/aspect among all the movies that become memorable over time with very strong ardent fan base and the one thing I can think of is the concept of a hero or anti-hero. No movie without a clear cut hero/anti-hero has never gained strong fan base especially with men. Audience need 1 character to follow for significant portion of the movie. You can follow other characters for 5 or 10 minutes but not the whole movie. This concept is nowhere more apparent than with the filmography of christopher nolan. The "limitations" of this hero concept is that the more heroic the protagonist is the better the movie feels. If the hero of the story is a bum then the movie doesn't work for general audience. But as long as a director is capable of making the protagonist feel heroic/anti-heroic at the end of the day, the movie works. I personally think the protagonist in this movie, Leonard Shelby played by Guy Pearce is one of best in movies ever.

Let's see the physical aspects of the protagonist. He is ripped as hell, he is blonde, he has a very defined cheekbones, he has the right amount of tattoos on his body and his dress is bluish grayish shirt and coat. I mean, that's the perfect dress code for a hero in a movie. He even has a polaroid camera that he carries around with him and hides in his jacket with a shoulder strap which looks so cool. And he also beats up and subdues two guys that are bigger than him. His psychological problems as too complicated and too specific that they stop feeling like a disability and start feeling, dare I say sexy and makes him unique. It's like having different colored pupil. The hurdles and challenges faced by protagonist never feel like something faced by a lazy person or bum, they feel more like obstacles faced by a detective while solving a crime. That is genius. So even his struggle to get to the next moment in the day feels like watching a perfectly abled and smart person figuring out stuff. As the character says in the movie, it takes discipline to make it work. Chris Nolan seems to believe that no matter how absurd or unfortunate condition you are in, it is how you react to that situation/challenge that will either make you are hero to root for or a loser. There is a really unique and weirdly badass scene where the protagonist forgets why he is running while running and he looks at a man running parallely to him on the other side of a van, so first he thinks he is chasing that guy and then once he is getting shot at, he realizes he is being chased. In this movie Chris Nolan expertly familiarizes audience with the protagonist's memory condition by showing us scenes where doctors try to treat a patient with the same condition and also by showing how the hero deals with it. That's something we often see in Nolan movies. Never introduce a strange concept to audience and end the movie with just basics in that concept. Always take audience 2 or 3 steps further into the concept. Its like, if you introduce audience to alphabets then end the movie after showing them how paragraphs and sentences work. So they will feel like they are experts in something new and that's a good feeling to leave audience with. So with this techniques Nolan makes the protagonist feel more badass than most other movie heroes and all his emotions feel earned.

Speaking of the tone and feel of the movie, this is an independent movie made for less than 10 million $. But it never feels cheap. Even to this day it feels very rich. The locations in the movie are very specific and are in close ups so you don't see any structures that can date the movie. The brooding protagonist and locations in the movie went on to become the indicators of auteur style of nolan in his future filmography. You can make an indie drama with same budget and feel cheap. But I think its the combination of locations in the movie(San francisco/LA/Las vegas), the look of the protagonist and characters in the movie and the cinematography(both day and night) in the movie made the movie look much richer than its budget can afford. Even the protagonist's car is a Jaguar xk8 and it looks so cool.

So, in conclusion, this is a freaking great movie and its the work of a master filmmaker. He is not only thinking about how it will look at the time he made the movie but also about how it will look in the future. Many filmmakers are just happy to have made the movie but only the ones who are confident of their vision and legacy will take these kind of things into consideration. It also shows that unique singular visions can have heroes and anti-heroes. Many of the indie directors that want to be auteurs try to make ensemble movies. The downside of this move is, vast majority of the audience, especially men between 15-40 dont like that. They want a hero/anti-hero in the story to root for and once they achieve their goal or purpose, endorphins/adrenaline will be released in audience and THAT is what makes them a lifelong diehard fans of the movie. They seeks those reactions everytime they watch the movie. It's like a drug you get while watching the movie and Chris Nolan movies offer that.
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aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
The Motorcycle diaries



Two medical students, Che and Alberto go on a cross continent trip across South America and the living conditions of people there changes them both forever.

From what I heard, Che Guevara was never a politician. He was more of a revolutionary. Just as any other revolutionary he met an early death as well. But compared to Fidel Castro, he was less political and more of a people's person in the truest sense of the word. So a movie about him and his inspirations is something worth making.

I am gonna be honest, I didn't watch this movie because of Che. I watched it because of the arc of the story that I read about before watching the movie. So my intention is to see if the promised arc was achieved or not. So basically the arc is of a transformation from a mild mannered medical student to a revolutionary. It is easy to get confused between a revolutionary and dictator. But a true revolutionary can never be a dictator. So transformation from a mild mannered medical student to revolutionary is easier to achieve than to a dictator.

So the movie starts with che and alberto starting their journey on an old motorcycle carrying lot of supplies. The movie has scope. It successfully captures the length and breath of south america. Their motivations behind the trip are simple. Just a pair of young students volunteering to help patients further south. They just want to see the world while they are young before settling in. They make various pit stops along the way. The idea is that through their journey they see the harsh reality of the world they otherwise would never have come across and this transforms Che into Che Guevara, the world famous revolutionary. So the movie is only as successful as how convincingly it can sell the transformation. That's exactly where the movie falters. It's top notch in all other areas except this.

The tipping point for his transformation is after witnessing a group of patients suffering from leprosy, a non contagious disease are isolated in an island when in fact they are the actual owners of the land by birthright. They have been pushed away and segregated from the rest of civilization in their own land. What complicates this is, we don't really see the oppressors throughout the movie. All we see are oppressed. So for someone like me who is not well versed in south american history it's really hard to see what about that motivates him to be a revolutionary. Yes, US is fighting south america at that point but we don't really see american presence. What we really see is just villages will poor living conditions. There is no gut punching emotional scene in the whole movie. Thats a big negative. Rest of the elements are good like the locations they travel, the atmospheric nature of south america, the breathtaking scenery, the change in landscape and interesting stories along their journey. Even the opportunities for emotion is all there in the movie. They come across lot of people in poor living conditions. It's just that, there is something off with the script in emotional content department as it relied on quiet transformation when in fact the occasion calls for a little more overt transformation. From his performance, we don't really understand what set him off. Its just a quiet timid guy on a road that sees something very bad and the next scene he is off to the join the revolutionaries. His friends reaction when he is leaving is good but its unearned. There are quite a few crucial unearned moments that just drain all the emotion from the movie.

As far as road movies that involve characters transforming through the journey is concerned this is at the top of the list but it really doesn't have much of a competition. But on the basis of what it set out to do, it's missing some very key pieces of the puzzle.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Revenge



The girlfriend of a married wealthy businessman exacts revenge on the men who wronged her against backdrop of a desolate desert.

The biggest strengths of the movie are the approach to the subject and the characters involved in the story. All those elements are incredible. The desolate nature of the setting of the movie puts the focus entirely on revenge just like revenant without any distractions. So the set up is very intriguing and kinda unique for revenge movies. A young lady accompanies a very wealthy man who could afford a vacation spot in the middle of nowhere and a private helicopter service to that spot on what would be a couple of days of weekend hunting trip after. They are expecting his business associates to join them there. They arrive a little earlier than expected. The interesting thing in the movie is the characters and how they are set up.

We have the main caucasian lead who is an alpha male and knows how to get a woman on the side and when to make his move. But his friends who happen to be of middle eastern origin are highly uncivilized. To a certain extent based on general knowledge I can say that there is a reasonable explanation for how an extremely wealthy middle eastern man can treat women horribly compared to an alpha male , frat boy type rich caucasian male. Frat boy types usually get consent even in affairs or cheating women but middle eastern rich men are much more into non consensual relationships where using power and force is common. So after a night of partying where the girlfriend acts friendly, the next morning when the middle eastern men are alone in the house with the girlfriend, one of them rapes her while the other does nothing. The boyfriend upon hearing this, asks her to move on and forget about it but she threatens to expose the matter which leads him to pushing her off a cliff.

There is a lot of subtext going on here. The girl knows he is married. There are women like her in real world who would rather be involved in affairs with influential men than be the first choice aka love of the life of a normal person. They would rather make the powerful man divorce his wife and marry them than be the wife of someone else. Thats their logic and good for them. Her place in their relationship is a little different than she thinks but on a subconscious level she knows it. For him she is a physical object and she thinks she can change his mind. There is obviously 10-15 yrs age gap. All this nuances justifies each and every action of both characters.

What follows is a raise of phoenix from the ashes storyline where she miraculously survives the fall and heals to follow them and kill them. Most of what happens next is bloody and kinda engaging chase across the desert landscape. She manages to kill the middle easterners in gruesome fashion but the boyfriend is saved for last and gets an elongated and bloody death.

The main highlight is the collection of characters and the setting. The odd but realistic collection. A caucasian wealthy middle aged male, a caucasian/european teenager female and 2 middle aged wealthy horny middle easterners. You can clearly see why they are business partners. You can clearly see why she is with him and vice versa. You can feel the power imbalance in the relationship. You can see why and what he thinks of her. Place of their relationship in overall equation. Lack of her agency. How expendable she is in his eyes. How his business partners look at her. Their rape is not spur of the moment or something specific to that scenario in the movie. It highlights something much more deeper and prevalent. Girls who want to get rich and jump social classes try to find someone a little better than sugar daddy and that happens to be middle aged men. They in most cases use them for physical pleasure and toss them out but the women still have some hope on turning them around to marry them. Friends who are power drunk and think they can enjoy the power trip of controlling women that belong to other men. So this kind of female companions are in the gray area for both parties. The guy who she is with treats her less than his wife and with little to no emotional attachment but still she is with him so the friend get to have his power trip. She think she is important to him because of her immaturity or her desire to convert him.That dynamic is where a new breed to crime is born.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Mystic River



Three neighborhood kids have their lives intertwined by a series of bad things that happen both when in their childhood and adulthood.

This is actually pretty dark and grim stuff. From storytelling point of view, the layers in the movie are very impressive. A pretty frightening child abduction happens at the beginning of the movie. Focus of the movie is not on individuals but rather personalities and characters. From the get go you notice that the kids have different personalities. All of them could have been abducted but the one who was abducted has certain character traits along with bad fate that made him ideal for abduction.

This concept keeps coming back again and again in the rest of the movie. The focus of the movie is not on things that happen but on circumstances that lead to them and the reaction to the things that happen. The two extremes are played by tim robbins and sean penn. First one is the timid weak type and the second one is the strong type. These are really the characters that make this movie. The middle one who is strong but operates with in societal rules is more of a supporting player.

Major portion of the movie involves the murder investigation of a teenager. The movie shows the stark contrast in the way different people react to a bad thing. Sean penn, an ex-convict is the father of the teenager and he still operates outside the law. So, he wants justice and he wants to give it himself. So he starts a parallel investigation through the neighborhood. The boston neighborhood in the movie is a character of its own. It's a very closed circle that is hostile to outsiders. So this narrows down the suspects to the people who live there.

At the same time tim robbins, now a troubled blue collar worker is involved in an accident the same night of the murder. Him and sean penn are related via their wives. But what you start noticing is, blood relation or societal rules or humanity is no match for personality/character traits. A weak person is a weak person no matter how much the society tries to even the level playing field. Even the family of a weak person could be weak, at least the woman who chooses him is in this movie. The movie kind of shows the fate of tim robbins as something inevitable and there is nothing he can do about it. That's the grim aspect of the movie. He was abducted because he showed signs of weakness as a child that made him ideal victim. Later on he lived with that and he married a weak woman.

Marriages rely on mutual trust. It is on man and woman to build that trust. But since tim robbins is weak, he doesn't have that in his family and that leads to his wife making a bad decision that ultimately leads to his demise.

Now, the heart of the movie is a father's love for his daughter. This emotion eclipses other themes in the movie because it's pure and it doesn't really discriminate the audience. Among oscar voters who saw the movie some might feel discriminated because of the character judgements the movie is making but the father daughter relationship kind of makes them either forget or forgive the more offensive things in the movie. Sean Penn won lot of awards for the movie. But I think its a combination of a lot of things that ultimately lead to his win. One thing is certain. Especially in the past 2 decades and that is, you can usually guess an oscar winning role from the nominations even before the oscar night. Roles usually are "successful roles" and most importantly are not loser roles not from character point of view but from how the film is received point of view. Lead roles that win usually are in movies with varying degree of success but always commercially successful movies. Even in 2018 when christian bale won critics awards for vice I knew he is never gonna win oscar because when you have rami malek, a non-white actor playing freddie mercury, a troubled but genius artist who felt discriminated his entire life in a movie that audience accepted by making it a billion dollar hit, no matter what christian bale has done, even if he died like heath ledger playing the role, he would have never won. Hollywood is cruel. They don't care. Maybe it's freddie mercury's popularity that made it a billion dollar hit but nonetheless something happens beyond comprehension of hollywood when a movie makes so much money that they bow down to audience decision and give him an oscar. Rami malek's oscar win is watched by 10's of millions of people on youtube who never would have watched an awards acceptance speech or even heard of oscars before. So the world is too big for even hollywood. So when a movie makes so much money they just bow down and give it all the awards especially when the actor is unknown and unconventional.

So the movie is a box office hit and sean penn is its lead. Majority of the movie, his character is mourning the loss of his daughter. The movie shows how a tough man cries. It shows how strong men in society are not from another planet but they have same emotions as others. It's just that they also have capacity to take actions without blinking an eye. Funny thing at the oscars is, sean penn's character is kind of a badass. Even though he kills the wrong guy to avenge the death of his daughter and plays god and still escapes punishment for his crime. He operates outside the law. He is a real life gangster. But even with all this character traits, he won an oscar and he got a huge standing ovation. Whereas when Tim robbins, who is the do gooder of the movie, the nice guy of the story won the oscar he didn't get a standing ovation . Even the story makes sean penn the lead whereas tim robbins is the supporting. From an investigation point of view as well, Sean Penn does bad investigation motivated by emotion whereas kevin bacon does good investigation. But that's not appealing to oscar voters. What's appealing is the raw emotion. Raw emotion of a father is much more compelling than the calm collected rational emotion of a detective. In real life detective is on the right but when you are an actor picking a role or offered a role then the father's role is better from acting point of view. All this is pretty weird. But it is kinda interesting to see academy voters giving a standing ovation to sean penn for his career when he is winning for a role that is morally questionable but also anti-heroically cool. Usually this kind of win for a badass role happens to actors that are not "movie stars". They are just popular people that happens to be great actors but are never "movie star" material. Hannibal lecter or gladiator or raging bull etc. comes to mind.

Overall, there is certain injustice in the movie that reflects reality in a way. The weird thing is audience kinda agrees with that and accepts that fact. But next to gladiator, godfather, raging bull and silence of the lambs, this movie has one of the best leading roles to have won a lead actor oscar for. Because there is certain posterity and timelessness and badassness to winning a lead actor oscar for a role like this. Winning for biopics/fictional movies for non-aggressive characters really doesn't live on for generations. Prime example is, the guy who won for harry and tonto in 1970s. Academy gave him his oscar because he was overdue, but no one remembers or cares. Even jamie foxx winning for ray is something no one gives crap about. But winning for a role like this or godfather is kinda cool because 100 years from now if someone looks up to see who won that year and goes on to watch the movie without any preconceived notions about sean penn or anyone who made the movie is, just from story point of view his role is badass and more people will agree with his win than not. That will make it endure for generations.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Wind River




After a native american woman mysteriously dies in wyoming reservation land, an FBI agent and a local hunter tries to solve the crime.

This is a prime example of how to effectively get your point across to the audience without being preachy and without loosing the entertainment value of a movie. So the movie starts with following the day to day routine of local hunter, Jeremy renner. He is hired to protect livestock from predators. Therefore due to the nature of his job he is very good at tracking on snow. While tracking for mountain lions that killed cattle, he stumbles upon the dead body of his late daughter's female friend and that leads to a female rookie FBI agent being sent to the reservation to investigate. She seeks the help of jeremy renner to solve the crime as she is new to the area.

There are lot of things this movie gets right. Firstly, the movie does have a fish out of water storyline in it. Elizabeth Olsen, the FBI agent is a fish out of water but the somber tone of the movie doesn't allow for elaborating that aspect of the movie and it works in its favor. The pairing of renner and olsen is very good. In a snowy landscape like reservations in wyoming, its very hard to have a very intricate thriller. Because you are not really looking for needle in a haystack or a hannibal lecter type genius killer because the number of suspects are very low and most of them are dumb. So the director must have something else to tell besides the crime and this director does. The dire conditions of the native american reservations and how they are left behind by government is covered over the course of the criminal investigation. The police force is very small, which severely hinders the investigation. Indians are given the land but it doesn't have opportunities. So either they have to live in remote locations without any career prospects or move to cities. It like given a piece of land where nothing grows. Most of all, the remote locations and the frontier every man for himself culture that these kind of places abide by are covered very well in the movie. It also shows how oil companies take out the natural resources from these places without sharing any of the profits with the locals who own the land. There is a grief plotline involving renner and his daughter,who is also killed like the native american woman under mysterious circumstances and her case remains unsolved. It done pretty well.

So, getting back to the plot, the case takes a dramatic turn when the police also find the body of a man who happens to be the woman's boyfriend in the woods. Once they learn that he worked at the oil drilling facility in the reservation. FBI officer and local police decide to pay a visit to see if the security camera has any footage that might help them solve the crime. There are two ways of getting there, one is a shortcut via woods and snowmobile and other is long road. Jeremy renner decides to take the shortcut whereas others take the road. On his way to the drilling center, renner has to pass the location where the boyfriend body was found and he notices snowmobile tracks leading to the oil rigging quarters. what !!!!

In order to discuss the climax, I need to spoil the mystery in the movie. So here it goes. The "how" part of the mystery in the movie is, the boyfriend who works at the oil drilling company invites her to his living quarters. The oil worker's life in that quarters is pretty cut and dry. They are a small team of 5 people since everything is automated. They live in the middle of nowhere. They rarely see any women. They have no fun. So when his coworkers enter the living quarters drunk and notice a woman, they try to rape her and when the boyfriend intervenes, they kill him. The woman manages to escape but without proper snow protection in sub zero weather, she dies few miles away from the quarters. The coworkers are too drunk to chase her. They also dump the dead body of the boyfriend who refused to let his girlfriend be raped by them.

The climax basically involves a shootout between the unassuming local police and FBI agent entering the facility and the workers who raped and killed the woman and her boyfriend. Its a tense scene because, firstly the whole facility is a private property and is outside the jurisdiction of reservation police. So the oil company doesn't want anything to do with the reservation. The people who work there come from somewhere else and they are also the security personnel of the area and are heavily armored. The moment the investigation lead the police to the facility the workers decide to kill the whole group and thats how a shootout occurs. Luckily Renner, an expert marksman figures out who they are before the rest of the team, shots them with a high powered sniper and kills the bad guys and saves the FBI agent. The one bad guy who manages to escape into the woods is forced by renner to run barefoot on snow in subzero temperatures in the middle of nowhere where he dies just like the indian woman.

It's not just that they are bad guys. The climax highlights and opens a can of worms that points out lot of different things. Firstly, they thought they could kill the woman and her boyfriend and get away with it because its a reservation in the middle of nowhere and generally government doesn't care about reservations. Moreover native american woman murder statics are not kept by government agencies apparently. This kind of the points to a supposed negligence on part of government towards crimes against native americans especially sex crimes against the women. It also shows that there is a real possibility that if the bad guys were able to kill police, FBI agent and the local police and bury them without a trace, they might not be caught because no one cares what happens there and since they are oil employees, company might interfere and steer them away from ever looking into their employees and the murder could have remain unsolved. The movie also highlights how inefficient and archaic, the whole law enforcement and the resources available to them are.They have to send samples collected from dead body to a facility somewhere else where it takes 6 weeks to get results. Even the presence of a single rookie FBI agent there shows just how unimportant it is for the FBI to solve the case. So I would say it is one of the perfect blends of entertainment and social message in a movie in the past decade.



aronisred's Avatar
outrageous film reviewer
Synchronic



Two paramedics with very different lives come across strange occurences during their job and that leads one of them into a weird path.

The directors of this movie are independent low budget directors who made some very weird movies in the past. Their ammo is the very niche subgenre of gritty realistic sci-fi fantasy horror movies. There is a fantasy element that affects a sci-fi aspect and the result is felt in real time and effects are felt on reality in the movie. Their past 3-4 movies I am aware of deal with this concept. This is a step up for them in terms of cast and budget.

The thing I like about them is, the core idea/concept that excites them to make a movie is almost always awesome in their entire filmography. Due to their budget limitations they can't help but make a realistic movie no matter how sci-fi their ideas are so it kinda gives this chris nolan effect to their movies. Where in the sci-fi elements can feel like they can happen in real life. Which is way more potent than unbelievable back to the future type sci-fi. So coming back to this movie, the weirdness they encounter in their job as paramedics involves coming across people dying in strange unbelievable manner. Due to their job they only see the after effect of it. They don't really know how it happens. Their job is just to medically treat the patients and let detectives investigate. But as audience we notice the strangeness of the deaths a little out there. A guys in a suburban house dies from a sword wound. A woman in an apartment dies of a snake bite. At first they chalk it up to a drug called synchronic found near the dead bodies.

The one of the paramedics played by anthony mackie finds out that he is terminally ill and that kinda wants to make him take some action about the deaths he is encountering in his job. So he goes out to the neighbourhood drug store and buy out all the synchronic drugs in the store. When he is leaving the store he comes across a man willing to buy drugs from him but mackie refuses. But the person follows him home and hides in his closet at night. When mackie discovers him and threatens to call police the man reveals that he is the inventor of synchronic and due to some mistakes with the chemical formula of the drug it is able to transport people back in time and that is causing people to get killed because the more past we go the more dangerous it is for people from the present. Even the inventor don't know the full effects of the drug. But what he does notice is that due to the illness of mackie he can essentially travel back in time for longer periods of time as opposed to fraction of time normal adults experience. At first he doesn't believe but since he is dying anyway mackie wants to give it a try.

This is the most interesting part of the movie. The key to time travel thrill in any film is the fish out of water aspect of it. The initial moments of time travel are the best when the character finds out he is in a different time period. The longer he is in it the less exciting it becomes. This movie finds out a way to keep that freshness for the entirety by limiting duration of stay in a different period to 6 minutes and anything more than that the character can't come back. What follows next is a couple of time travel trials to figure out the rules of the game. And the rules are, based on the spot you are at while taking the drug you are transported to a different time and place. He goes to a marsh land filled with alligators in louisiana and encounters a french conquistador and is able to escape and get back in time. Then he goes to ice age and witnesses a cave man and a mammoth from a different spot in his living room. He goes to racist southern farmer's house around civil war period at night and during this trial he realizes that he has to be at the same spot where he travelled from in order to go back and if not he will be stuck forever. So his drug count is down by half after these attempts.

Now his partner enters into the picture, who is played by jamie dornan. He is a family man with a kinda troubled daughter. One day she disappears and when mackie is called into it as a paramedic, he puts 2 and 2 together and notices that its because of synchronic. So he takes the drug and goes to a civil war battle field. Where we notice his daughter hiding in a trench. Mackie stays behind but sends the daughter back knowing that there is nothing for him to come back to as he will die due to his illness and chooses to stay behind in the civil war era knowing that he did something good and he could die a faster death being on the battle ground.

What I liked about that is, there are juicy sci-fi thrills and concepts there. As soon as you start getting bored of a time period the characters comes out of it. So audience are treated to a fresh thrill during each time travel attempt. I like idea of paramedics coming across this drug and its after effects. Because that is the most realistic scenario and the movie kinda blends the unsettling vibe of a place after something bad happens like some died or something like that and paramedics arrive with the creepy after effects of time travel. So the tone is also interesting. It has chronicle movie vibes. The places they choose are also very interesting. There is also a little bit of creepy vibe to it. Biggest drawback is, that the movie only scratched the surface. The ideas are too many and they didn't have time to flesh them out. So the screenplay comes off as weak and thin. Nonetheless the ideas are worth admiring. Its not too deep of a concept but it's interesting approach to time travel on low budget.