This week brings three films.
The first was "The Girl on the Train" which I was by far the most excited for. I loved the book, it was a far from perfect book, but certainly a page turner.
Unfortunately the translation to screen did not turn out so well. The suspense was stripped out of it for me.
Emily Blunt was certainly the highlight, and saved the film from falling into the "avoid" category.
What I will note is because the story is so plot driven, if you aren't familiar with the story you might enjoy the film more than I did. There were plenty of people who had audible reactions in the theater so in that sense it might be a novel (pun intended) offering to what we've seen out of the box office so far this year.
The next film is "The Birth of a Nation" which was a complicated one for me to review. It became a question of content versus filmmaking and filmmaker.
Content wise I think everyone should go see the film. It's the true story of Nat Turner who led one of the few slave uprisings during the antebellum South.
Timing wise it's very poignant given the current racial climate of the US.
However, as a film it's pretty mediocre. It suffers from slow pacing, and relies on metaphoric imagery that - while upsetting enough to get the job done - is inexpertly executed.
The heavy handed religious zealotry (yes Nat Turner is a preacher) was a little off putting as someone not of the Christian faith. There are plenty of inspiring films that rely on religious elements that are not necessarily alienating to the rest of us.
Quite frankly from a filmmaking perspective, "12 Years a Slave" or even the original "Roots" felt more engaging.
The final issue, which I would be remiss to not mention, is that with the filmmaker, who is also the star. Unfortunately I was not able to dissasociate the recent allegations that came to light regarding him and the cowriter being accused of rape.
I think it's important not to gloss over this, because it's an issue that gets swept under the rug far too often and I encourage you to look up the details before deciding "he's innocent because he wasn't convicted" as well as take a closer look at the imbalanced sexual assault and rape laws in the US.
Gabrielle Union, who stars in the film and is a rape survivor herself wrote a response that was thoughtful and voiced well a lot of my discomfort.
Ultimately had I not been reviewing the film, I don't think I would have gone to.
Final film is "American Honey" which while I could appreciate the filmmaking that went in to it, I can't say I enjoyed watching the film. It also had some pacing issues. It was a little rambling and felt almost voyeuristic watching the whole experience.
Sasha Lane, who makes her debut, does get credit for her performance. She was earnest and genuine without being annoying (as the film does revolve around nomadic teenagers who by nature had the potential to be taxing).
The latest interviews, reviews, and opinions on film by Dana Han-Klein. Thoughts and opinions are entirely my own and not reflective of my employer or any third parties.
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