Friday, 28 November 2008

Waltz With Bashir - Ari Folman (2008)

It's rare that I usually leave the cinema speechless, before engaging in hours (literally) of discussion with those around me, but 'Waltz With Bashir' is no ordinary film for no ordinary audience. Emotionally enthralling, yet uneasily shocking, 'Bashir' follows director Ari Folman as he visits various friends and foes trying to rekindle the memories he has forgotten of the Israeli-Lebanon War in 1982. Shot in memorizing animated visuals, it is a thought-provoking ride through the rediscovery of one man's forgotten nightmares.

From the opening surrealist shot of twenty-six dogs rabidly racing down the Tel Aviv streets towards the 'dreamers' (Ari's friend) home, to the ending where the animation is sacrificed for a few short minutes to show the real, unaltered horrors of the Sabra and Shatila massacre from news reels and archive footage. Surrealism is constantly mixed with the truth, making you wonder, what did Ari really want to find out and to what end? Is this all he and those remembered, or what there memories would allow them to keep encapsulated.

A frighteningly stark look at a young soldiers life, and how war can effect everybody involved, not just those remembered as a statistic on a board of casualties. As we delve further into his regained memories, we are made to wonder, is this journey exercising his demons, or simply just reigniting them? With the stunning visuals keeping you emotionally at arms length, detracting you from the events, before quickly dragging you back in with a horrifically haunting ending.

'Waltz With Bashir' is compelling, thought-provoking viewing.

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Quantum of Solace - Marc Forster (2008)

The problem with 'Quantum of Solace' was always the expectation the fantastic series re-boot 'Casino Royale' bestowed upon the Bond faction, however if you manage to avoid trying to place both films side-by-side, then you'll enjoy 'QoS' a lot more for what it is, a decent romp of an action-flick that deserves to be in any Bond aficionados collection.

'QoS' continues literally straight on from the end of 'Casino Royale' as Bond is on a mission for vengeance, and we are thrust straight into the action from the very beginning with a stunning car chase, the pace is set. From then on, we follow Bond across the globe as he jumps from country to country trying to find out just what the 'organisation' is and what they're up to while managing to destroy everything in his past(oh and there's a little residing hatred from the death of Vesper).

Daniel Craig and Olga Kurylenko both deliver strong performances as two characters drawn together over the notion of retribution and Mathieu Amalric is surprisingly chilling as the humanised antagonist in a universe usually populated by the slightly exuberant villain. And with a smart script to-boot, one of 'QoS' strongest area's is also it's weakest. While the high octane action is fast, violent and frenetic, it is also incredibly disjointed by Forster's use of quick editing and his inability to judge what shots create thrill-seeking enjoyment and others that just cause confusion in the way that you don't know what you've just seen.

With all being said, I enjoyed 'Quantum of Solace', it was a decent action flick that ticked most of the conceptual boxes on what a Bond film should contain.