Mineshaft Gap

It's a screening log, no more no less. Maybe I'll have something interesting to say one of these days...

Heart of Darkness.

It takes a Brazilian to make Hollywood's best British thriller in years. Let's get the accolades out of the way up front. The Constant Gardener is a great film, one of the best of the year as well as its most politically conscious. Though it works first as another entry into the "white people in darkest Africa" genre, it is Meirelles that takes it into new places. His work in City of God was revelatory, and here he brings true knowledge of the third world into a thriller with a "civilized" first world view. He knows where the story is here, and it's not with the white aid workers. Its the Africans, and we shouldn't forget it.

Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz both give their finest performances of their careers. That's not saying much for Weisz who is wonderful here but has been quite bad in some other films (Confidence anyone?) but Ralph Fiennes turns in one for the ages. He is a master of repression during disaster, and his face acting brings an audience into his pain as well as any actor alive. Plus, Bill Nighy is good in everything I have ever seen him in

Liberal filmmaking is such an inherently difficult genre to work in successfully. To make a film like this you have to feel it so deeply that you want to shout from the rooftops. The only problem is when that exuberance for the message completely overshadows the storytelling. For 2/3 of the film, Meirelles completely avoids this pitfall, his story is taut and does not pause for proselytizing. The third act walks much closer to the edge than it should, but to its credit only falls over on a couple of occasions. That Meirelles has managed to make a film that exists first to tell a message and then to tell a story, yet make it utterly compelling and tension filled at all times is amazing. This officially puts him on the map of great world directors.

Post-The Constant Gardener Top 10:
1. Broken Flowers
2. The Constant Gardener
3. Last Days
4. Hustle & Flow
5. Kung Fu Hustle
6. Batman Begins
The 40 Year Old Virgin
8. Grizzly Man
9. Junebug
10. Happy Endings

1 Responses to “Heart of Darkness.”

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