Thursday, November 28, 2013

A Moveable Fest, Week 14: Night of the Hunter, Upstream Color, Bottle Rocket

Would you trust that face? (Hint: no)
Week 14: Tim's Choice

Night of the Hunter

A fake, murderous preacher Rev. Powell learns that an imprisoned father has the money from his robbery hidden somewhere near his home - we quickly learn it's in the thief's 4-year-old daughter's doll. After Powell woos the townsfolk and, tragically, the children's mother, the kids have to take off downriver, where they join the legions of children orphaned/abandoned by the Depression as they beg at doorways. Eventually they find a place in Rachel Cooper's home for abandoned children, and in her their sole protector. But preacher-man ain't giving up easy. This starkly vivid film, the only one directed by Charles Laughton, is still generally frightening and affecting - while I was wary in advance of being manipulated by sentimentality, the children and their sole, elderly protector are genuinely moving:

Rachel: "It's a hard world for little things" (I burst into tears).
Rachel: "You know, when you're little, you have more endurance than God is ever to grant you again. Children are man at his strongest." (*sobs harder*).

There was a fair bit of cheering going on at the end of this film.

Upstream Color

After watching Primer, and then this, it's safe to say that Carruth don't make no films for no idiots. So: a drug dealer feeds wormy things to a woman named Kris, she signs all her possessions over to him, then a mysterious mastermind extracts the worms and feeds them to pigs, and he makes weird music, and Kris only remembers this when she meets a guy called Jeff, and eventually the life-cycle of the organism and the pair's involvement come kind-of full circle. I think. Don't quote me. If you can, turn off the front of your brain and let the movie synthesize an experience for you. You'll get enough narrative cohesiveness to make it satisfying, but really it's just best to treat this film as a high quality immersion experience. I enjoyed this more than Primer, I think, because there's less high-speed science-mumble and more concentration on images. Looking forward to his next venture.

Bottle Rocket

Anthony, Dignan and Bob (the first two played by Luke and Owen Wilson - comparing noses is part of the fun) are learning to be crooks. They rob a bookstore (the staff are pretty chilled and don't really mind), then they hang out in motels and don't do a lot, until they get involved with a real criminal and are suddenly in over their heads. There's a lot to love in this film - it doesn't push too hard with what it has to work with, it's enjoyably meandering, and there's plenty of Wes Anderson happy moments:

Bob:"Why is there tape on your nose?"
Dignan: "EXACTLY."

And I kept forgetting Applejack's name and calling him Bananatango. I knew it had a fruit in it.Bad with names.

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