Best Picture Hall of Fame Part 2

Tools    





Legend in my own mind


Unforgiven (1992)

This is the third time that I have watched this film. The previous two times that I have watched it, I found myself enjoying it, but feeling that it was just slightly lacking in something.
It was the same story on the third viewing.

It's a great story of an old gunslinger with a questionable past, that has found himself somewhere near rock bottom, and he is presented with an opportunity to change that by a mouthy young kid. He sets out in pursuit of that opportunity, but that will mean that he has to return to the life that he had previously turned his back on.
The film is beautifully shot and well cast, but I feel that too much time is focused on areas that don't matter. For me there is too much needless dialogue taking place on horseback or around a camp fire etc, that leads to any of the more action dense scenes feeling a bit rushed, particularly the culmination of the film. I also think that something is lost in the fact that there is two main story lines. I thinkit would be better if the focus was on catching those that Eastwood and his squad are pursuing or the scoundrel of a sheriff. Having both just seems to dlute it for me.

What I do like a lot is the step away from cliche. Munny is a complex character that hasn't been a pleasant character. The film doesn't seek to justify this or even to redeem him, so much as you can't fully buy into his noble aim. He isn't trying to earn redemption for the wrong that he has done, he just wants money. We don't see a likeable man under a tough, troubled exterior. He simply isn't that nice, which is refreshing, but it does make rooting for him fully a bit more of a leap, although Little Bill (Hackman) makes that a bit easier for the viewer. As I say, I found it refreshing to have a western that doesn't simply present us with the good guys to cheer for against the nasty bad guys, more so, it presents us with a choice of who is the least bad.

Overall, I found it complex and raw, yet it could be so much more. (unintentional rhyming)

__________________
"I don't want to be a product of my environment, I want my environment to be a product of me" (Frank Costello)



Legend in my own mind


The Departed
(2006)

There are only three films that I have seen that I rate more highly than Scorcese's offering of 'The Departed, and given that it is my nomination, this is a fairly straight forward review for me.

Beautifully directed, superb performances from an outstanding cast and a story that is full of twists and turns and a rising tension from the first scene to the very last.
I know that it is essentially a remake of 'Internal affairs' and although I enjoyed the original, I find this to be the far superior film.

That in large part is due to the acting. Di Caprio and Damon are superb (especially Di Caprio) but Nicholson as Castello is the headliner in this movie. Whitaker won the Oscar for his portrayal of Idi Amin, and I have no qualms about that as he was superb, but the fact that Nicholson wasn't nominated is frankly ridiculous or an indication of the high standard of performances in that year.
Wahlberg deserves a mention too, for his performance that did get a nomination.

The greatests thing about this film for me is the way that the tension builds throughout, There is a sense of imminent danger that flows through the duration of the film, due to the cat and mouse plot and the dangerous nature of some of the characters.

I remember actually holding my breath during certain parts of the film when I first watched it at the cinema.

A stunning film that I never tire of watching.




Braveheart

Braveheart is an epic tale told on a grand scale that is filled with amazing scenes, bloody battles, and beautiful cinematography.
The story tells of the legend of William Wallace, who helped fight for his countries independence from England.
Wallace is played by Mel Gibson with equal parts brute force and cunning, and passion. Itís his story, and the focus is on him.
But he isnít the only character worth watching for.
Patrick McGoohan is King Edwards, and commands the screen each time he is on it. He plays the villain well, with a permanent sneer etched across his face. His cruelty seems to know no bounds.
Brendan Gleeson and Angus McFaydan play Hamish and Robert The Bruce, both well cast and well acted. Gleeson in particular has always been a standout for me, and it confounds me he has yet to ever be nominated for an Oscar.
One thing that stood out to me through out this film was the father-son relationship and how each character deals with them.
King Edwards son is gay, and week willed. Heís frightened by his father, and show little interest in politics.
Robert the Bruceís father is addicted with leprosy (fictional kind obviously, leprosy is always portrayed incorrectly in films for dramatic effect). His father wields strong political influence, and the two donít see quite eye to eye in regards to Wallace. Robert seems like he is always trying to be diplomatic with both sides to please his father.
Hamish seems like he always wants to show his strength off to his father. He has a sort of rivalry, shown all too briefly, with Wallace , whom his father seems to favor.
And Wallace himself, whose father died while he was still a boy. His absence was filled by his uncle Argyle, played by Brian Cox. Cox makes the most of his limited screen time. He becomes a father figure to Wallace and teaches him everything he knows.
The battles are the high point, as they are not for the faint of heart. They are depicted as bloody and violent as they often were.
But at the heart of it all is the humanity displayed by Wallace, who just wanted peace and to start a family. He is denied both in a brutal act that forever binds his destiny.
The film isnít intended as a history lesson. There are many inaccuracies, and some accurate elements. But above all itís meant to entertain. And boy does it ever.



The Departed

Scorseseís only Best Picture win starts off crackling with energy, as he introduced the main characters one after another within the first 20 mins. It isnít long before we get aquatinted with Damon and DiCaprio.
Everyone knows the story here. It moves at break neck speed as double crossed and triple crosses are set up, and Scorsese weaves a labyrinthine plot effortlessly. We never are confused about anyoneís loyalties.
The acting is top notch. Nicholson, DiCaprio and Damon are all standouts. Only Alec Baldwin is weak in this.
Speaking of Nicholson, his character is overwritten, which lends itself to overacting. With dialogue like ďThis ainít reality TV!Ē One wonders if they could have given it a once over before filming. The dialogue desperately wants to remind Everyone of itís Boston roots.
But at the end of the day, those shortcomings do not detract from a great film. From start to finish, this is a film that Intensifies as it races towards itís inevitable and violent ending.
No one gets away clean.



Legend in my own mind


Braveheart (1995)

A film about the Scottish people and their fight for FREEEEDOM, led by an initially unlikely hero in William Wallace.

When I first watched this film I was 16 years old and I loved it. The fight scenes, the revenge drivene plot, the noble pursuit of freedom. Beautifully made and well acted, I loved it.

Every subsequent viewing since has involved me noticing a new flaw that reduces my enjoyment of the film.

Upon the second viewing a few years later after 2 years of studying British History, I came to a relaisation of just how much any story had been butchered to lose almost any semblance of truth an accuracy.
I know many don't care about that and it's fine, but I couldn't unlearn what I had learned in my studies and it provided me with a fresh lens to view the film through, whether I wanted to or not.
My biggest issue with this aspect was,if you were going to move so far away from any truth, why not just change the name? Scot Mcscotsman or Walliam Willis would have eradicated half of the issues that I have with the film. Gladaitor did this, although based in real events and taken from real stories, maximus was largely fictional and an amalgamation of many characters.
An ancestors of William Wallace come out of this pretty well, but those of Robert the Bruce, Longshanks etc not so much.
I won't go into the other innaccuracies, if you are interested, just google it.
I am quite confident that I would have similar issues with Gandhi, The Kings Speech etc should the contested accuracy of those be so comprehensive.

As I had mentioned this before and I know some of people felt differently, I endeavoured to watch the film for the purposes of entertainment, and as much as I could, remove the issue of accuracy to real life.

I did that and although it helped a lot, I still had issues with the film.
Gibsons accent. A trivial issue, but irritating none the less.
I was invested in Gibson after Murrons death, then he just became a savage, and I went back to sympathy during the death scene. Again in contrast to Maxiums in Gladiator, where I backed him throughout.

There are a few scenes that I find nonsensical.
These include:
The lifting of the kilt scene - I find that it just trivialises the tension and fear in that moment.
The romance with the Princess - Not needed and ridiculous,

There were also things that I appreciate more on each viewing:
There are some tremendous cinematographic techniques used in the film. Subtle shots an imagery that really help the film. The sword being thrown at the end with the soft bagpipe music playing, the shots of the horses hooves in slo mo in some battle scenes etc.
Murron walking through the crowd at the end was equally as powerful.

Overall, I think life has soiled my enjoyment of the film. From being English to studying teh subject matter in some depth and using the film to do that in class.
This frustrates me because as I said I loved it on first viewing.
Many people love it though and in many ways it is easy to see why.
We all have opinions though and can voice them. That's the beneft of FREEDOM!




Gandhi

-


I'm terrible with history and didn't know anything about Gandhi except that he was supposed to be a great man. I have an Indian friend and whenever she says my name, I tell her "my name is Gandhi". That's the extent of my experience with him. I've seen a lot of biopics and usually they're a big letdown. This was easily one of the best I've ever seen.

In the very beginning, I wasn't sure how this movie was going to be. I was thinking it didn't look like the time period depicted, and Ben Kingsley didn't look Indian at all. All of a sudden he did look Indian and from there it was off to the races. Kingsley was incredible in this, a stellar performance in every way. I forgot I was watching an actor. Supporting cast is very good. The movie was surprisingly upsetting at many points while dealing with India under British rule, religious battles, and the whole India/Pakistan thing. It covers a lot of ground and through it all there is Gandhi. If this was anything like reality, and I suspect that it is, he was a great man. I was truly inspired by him.



Just started reading the other reviews of Gandhi in the thread and the first one I read, ahwell, I used a few of the same words lol. Funny thing is I can't remember ever using the word stellar by text before.



Just started reading the other reviews of Gandhi in the thread and the first one I read, ahwell, I used a few of the same words lol. Funny thing is I can't remember ever using the word stellar by text before.
Oh yeah thatís odd haha... great minds ig



Glad to see some respect for Gandahi, too bad Cricket didn't join.
It's probably better that I didn't. As crazy as it seems with how much I loved it, I'd probably have it 6th.



It's probably better that I didn't. As crazy as it seems with how much I loved it, I'd probably have it 6th.
It will come in at last place I suspect, which doesn't bug me, I didn't even vote it 1st place myself.



It will come in at last place I suspect, which doesn't bug me, I didn't even vote it 1st place myself.
For me at least it's miles ahead of one movie and close to the rest.



Watching Gandhi now, and will write up my review and send in my ballot when finished. (Donít wait up) 😆
Iím curious to see if my opinion has changed any since I first watched it years ago. Maybe a second viewing will enhance it, and a fresh mindset will catch what I missed the first time around.



Gandhi


Ben Kingsley is amazing in this film. Letís get the obvious out of the way. Itís his film and he completely captures Gandhi. The film has a few powerful scenes, and simple but effective dialogue but I canít help but feel like thereís something missing.
There are points where the narrative comes to close to preachiness and never completely captures me.
Maybe itís just me. I definitely enjoyed it a little more then my first watch, but itís still lacking. Definitely one of the weaker Best a picture wins of the 80ís, but still better then Driving Miss Daisy.