Wednesday, August 31, 2005

More about "The Best of Youth"

I have first seen reviews of this movie in a local magazine. Milk, or perhaps it was East Touch. It looked promising. I couldn't find any good movies in Hong Kong lately, so I decided I would give it a try. I spent the whole afternoon on this movie, skipping the usual saturday boardgame gathering and one of my best friend's birthday dinner party.

It was really a nice movie. I didn't feel it at first. It did not make me weep. There were no violent or erotic scenes, or dramatic events, or any things that charms me. Nothing special that I could remember from the music. I could not even understand Italian, nor have I a passion on Italian history. But I just could not get it out of my head. Four days later I am still thinking about it. It was just that good. So I decided I would write a short review, or my feelings, about this six-hour monster, even though I was never good at writing.

It was about this Roman middle class family of Carati: Nicola (Luigi Lo Cascio), his brother Matteo (Alessio Boni), their family and their friends, with forty years of Italian history weaved into their lives. Just before a trip to northen europe after exam, Matteo met this little girl Giorgia (Jasmine Trinca) in an asylum. Trying to protect this girl from being mistreated, he rescued her. With the help of his smarter brother Nicola they tried helping her to find her father, but the father already had a new life and did not want the mentally-ill daughter any more. This girl changed their lives. Matteo wanted power to correct the world. He dropped out of school and joined the armed forces and later became Riot Police. The more liberal Nicola wanted to heal the girl and continued his education in Psychiatry after the long trip. They crossed each other's lives at unexpected moments, sometimes in opposing identities. Nicola, as a volunteer to help in the Florence flood, saw his brother on the street, a soldier. Demonstrator's close friend and riot police who almost killed one of the demonstrators in Torino....

The movie turned out to be very touching. It was 40 years of life condensed in a 6 hour show. New lives arrive while family members passed away. Different sorts of family problems. Different attitudes leading into different ways of life, causing family members to stand of opposing sides in an argument.

There was also a little something that took me a few days to realise. Still photo cameras, not the brothers, were the key to the movie. I was really surprised how the story linked different characters together through photographs. It was Matteo's photos that started it all, that showed Nicola to Giorgia and changed their lives forever. It was Mirellas' camera who helped her and Matteo met. Photos from the very same female led the brother to the widow, the grandchild to the Oma. It took me a few days to realize that these photographs played such an important role in the movie. I was so dumb.

Impressions on The Best of Youth: 9/10

Red Eye

I watched Red Eye tonight. Rachel McAdams is so cute, and Cillian Murphy sexy. What else do you want from a B-movie?

More about the movie and the plot: It's just 80 minutes, fairly short for a movie these years, even for a thriller. The plot is not very good but also not bad. I have seen worse this year, say, House of Wax and Cursed.

Half of the movie is about the Lisa (McAdams) and Jack (Murphy) sitting in the plane cabin. Thanks to the two brilliant actors, I can really feel the tension and the emotions. What I hate the most about teen-horror movies are that the actors usually sucks. Lots of blood, lots of screams, and that's all.

[Spoiler alert]

Back to the plot. When the boy said he lost a pen, I would have expected something smarter. Maybe Lisa wrote hints on a piece of toilet paper, in addition to writing on the mirror? Perhaps the smart-looking little girl went to the toilet and told her mom about the mysterious writings he found in the toilet? None of them happened. The director spent lots of time shooting the many characters who had nothing (nothing important, at least) with the plot, that's not very good. After getting off the plane things get straight-forward. The usual kill-him-or-die stuff. It is however already much better than the bunch of thrillers. And I love thrillers.

Cillian Murphy is also in 2 of my favourite movies: 28 Days Later and Batman Begins. He is a talented young actor and will be on my watch list. McAdams is surely a much better actress than the usual "chicks" in thrillers. They both did a good job, and I look forward to seeing them in future movies. By the way I think she looks a little bit like Jennifer Garner in this movie.

First impressions on Red Eye: 7/10

I also watched the Best of Youth last week at Cine Art Cinema. Impressions on the Best of Youth: 8/10