Film views from Sarge

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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 dialogue on horseback or around a camp fire etc that leads to any action 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

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.

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!

Legend in my own mind

Blinded by the light (2019)

A charming film about a young muslim boy whose family moved from Pakistan to Luton in England before he was born. It shows how he (Javed) is torn between cultures and although he has a passion for writing is struggling to release his inner voice.

Javed discovers the music of Bruce Springsteen which acts as a conduit for his own voice.
It's a great coming of age story with a stunning soundtrack, set against the backdrop of racism, music and self discovery.

Legend in my own mind

Spenser Confidential (2020)

We have seen it all before. Wahlbergin Boston playing an angry man that has to set something straight.

It is all familiar, but it works. Witty one liners, some decent fight scenes, dirty cops, and you get exactly what you would expect.

Not groundbreaking but decent enough to pass a couple of afternoon hours.