Speak low…when you speak love…when you speak of the films you love…
There’s a film that was released in 2015 that hardly anyone is mentioning at year’s end. It’s a film that for fans of a certain type of old-school cinema…those who love noir, Lang, Hitchcock and The Third Man…soared wafting in on the summer breezes to art-house theaters like a fresh breath of cool lake air. And it features a singular performance (from the one and only Nina Hoss) and a closing scene, so haunting, so complete, so cinematic, so classy…it made those lovers of that refined kind of retro flick gasp. “We didn’t know they could make them like this anymore…” we communally thought. Oh, but they do…and it’s so very rare and precious when they do. Phoenix (and for the legions who haven’t seen it, please do…it’s currently streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime) is the film of the year – hell, maybe of the decade. My wife and I loved it so much we had “Speak Low” play as one of our wedding songs. It’s that damn good. And unforgettable. Continue reading →
In Lenny Abrahamson’s tonally perfect adaptation of Emma Donoghue’s novel, Room (smartly scripted by the novelist herself), a young mother (Brie Larson) imprisoned in a backyard shed by a sexual predator since she was 17 creates an elaborate imaginary world for her 5-year-old son, Jack (Jacob Tremblay), to inhabit in order to shield him from the true horrors of their lonely existence (seriously…thank god they had TV…it was their only connection to the outside world). But eventually she comes to a breaking point, and she must shatter her little boy’s world in order to convince him to agree to a scheme for them to break out into freedom.
Apart from the subversive reprieve for the lasting power of television in a smart-phone and social media obsessed world, Room is stacked with all the right moves crafted to push all the right emotional buttons. The escape plan is truly harrowing and daring, and Abrahamson films it in a way to build up genuine suspense – the shots, editing, music and acting are all top grade. Continue reading →