This is a smart, crafty, and somewhat anarchist little project and though it’s aimed at the heart of the kid’s market this is only a kid’s film if it had been released in 1975. It’s perfect for smart kids or the parents of kids who grew up in the late 60’s and early 70’s, ones who aspire for their kids to have the spark of mischief and questioning of the system present in a lot of Roald Dahl’s books and the best stuff to come out of that era. It absolutely doesn’t insult the intelligence of its audience once, in fact loaded to the gills with little subtleties and comments that will make it one for many repeat viewings.
I’d put it up against any Wes Anderson film and anything this side of Pixar for actual merit of work in films aimed towards the younger set.
Michael Gambon. Not a lot of lines, but great work when he has them, including the best laugh in the film. The guy has his own turn on the Top Gear track and now he is officially a king of Earth.
This is all of the above.
Whip-smart, lightning fast, excellently performed, and loony, this is political satire at its best. Many have compared it to Wag the Dog and Dr. Strangelove but it’s not. It’s its own thing, owing more to today’s world of docu-comedies (which have made Ricky Gervais a wealthy man) and the way the public has sort of become more of an eyewitness to the people who comprise the power structure [real or implied] and made celebrities of them, and the fact the world has been quite a clusterfuck of late.
Armando Iannucci’s movie is one you simply get all the grace and scathing brilliance of in one sitting. Or two. Or three.
I was numb. I knew I liked it a lot but wasn’t sure if I loved it. Then I saw it two more times and knew I loved it. Just didn’t know if it was for the right reasons and if that love translated to the film deserving its place on this list.
Thankfully, home video has made this film better and better for me and I can say without any doubts that it’s a film I love and a rather sizable cinematic accomplishment. Not without its flaws, mind you, but the films I love the very most tend to be ones with some serious flaws (Heat, Collateral, Out of Sight, and The Shining come to mind).
I loved this movie first because it actually got made and wasn’t a sellout. Now I love it because it’s one I can watch end to end anytime and find new things to be amazed by. And really, in a world where so many sacrifices are made on the journey from page to screen, I have no problems at all with this being a ‘cover’ over the graphic novel.
That said, I wish Malin Ackerman and Matthew Goode had been replaced with someone else. The cast would have been impeccable then.
As far as cinema goes, Quentin Tarantino’s movie is the best in many years. In many ways his best film. Definitely his most mature. Definitely the one boasting the least ‘look at me’ dialogue, the most confidence, and the least amount of moments where you feel the director is more concerned with his brand and legacy than in delivering something of true merit. There’s none of the embarrassing idol worship of Death Proof here [seriously, you take the crash and Kurt Russell out of that movie and it’s an abomination and even with them it’s a huge misstep]. There’s none of the excess of Kill Bill. This is his considerable talent distilled to one manageable movie. And it’s such a celebration of cinema.
The dialogue is like fine champagne and the actors (except for Eli Roth) deliver it like maestros. The scenes are well thought out and executed that the movie feels like a greatest hits collection from history. The sleight of hand in taking what would have been a boys with guns movie and making it about a Jewish girl’s revenge is breathtaking and bold. Everything about it (except for Eli Roth) is top notch and it keeps bearing fruit on repeat viewings.
Tarantino for a while there was a guy I was wary of. With this he delivers not only something truly great, but something truly great that isn’t kept afloat by cool or edgy sizzle. Amazing stuff.
Performance to Sever: Eli Roth.
Five Blu-Ray viewings later, yes it can. It doesn’t have the richness of some of the films on this list, nor the performances, nor the depth. But as a package it is just about perfect. The craft, the brains behind it, and the absolute wringing of every drop of value and quality from every aspect of the movie makes it the film of the year for me. And that’s saying an awful lot, because terrific filmmakers like Quentin Tarantino, James Cameron, Spize Jonze, and Wes Anderson delivered some of the best work of their careers.
Plus, this film has put a justified nail in the coffin of the documentary style sci-fi films. This can’t be topped…. until District 10. Bring it on.