Thursday, 4 February 2010

(500) Films of Empire - Day 142

191 - Brokeback Mountain - 5 stars
So much more than just "that gay cowboy movie", this was one of those times when everything seems to come together to create a truly beautiful film.
As I tried to explain to a few customers when this film came out (no pun intended), this is not a gay film but in fact it is simply a love story, as the central relationship between Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist transcends any boundaries of sexuality.
The performances of Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal show amazing depth and maturity from the young actors.  Ledger in particular finally showed what a truly great actor he was and it is a terrible shame that he died before really being able to fulfill his potential.
Ang Lee's understated direction allows the action to unfold at its own pace and is beautifully underscored by Gustavo Santaolalla.

234 - The Bourne Ultimatum - 5 stars
The culmination of one of the very best film trilogies of all time.
While you could complain that they are all very similar in terms of the storyline and action, they are all excellent films in their own right. And Ultimatum is the best of the bunch.
The first half hour is almost a horror movie in that it is terrifying to realise how plausible the speed and precision that government agency can invade our privacy and track our every move. The scene where Paddy Considine is being chased through Waterloo station is the standout set piece of the series. Now every time I walk through the station I am constantly checking the movements of the CCTV cameras!
The bonus of this film is that Bourne is finally up against a worthy adversary in the form of David Strathairn's slimy Noah Vosel.  A man who is very quick to eliminate civilians or even members of his own department if they are perceived to be a threat to him.
The only minor annoyance with the film was for some reason the screenwriters tried to shoehorn in some hint at a previous romance between Matt Damon and Julia Stiles.  It wasn't mentioned in the first two and just seemed forced in order to bring her back, which wasn't necessary.
I fully agree with Damon's decision to only return if Greengrass directs, but after three films treading familiar waters they would have to do something very different to make it a success... which they have, its called Green Zone and looks like Bourne in Iraq being chased by Jason Isaacs with a handlebar moustache!

Days remaining - 223 Films remaining - 290

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