Monday, October 10, 2011

The Hills Have Ides

Among my observations that didn't quite fit into my review of The Ides of March, which is now up at Battleship Pretension:

-I loved, loved, loved the way the characters kept referring to life after campaign management, and starting a consulting firm, with the kind of tone people usually use to talk about retirement homes or death. Said so much about these people and their way of life.

-I knew instantly that Marisa Tomei played a reporter, not because I read/saw the played or read any review or really had much in the way of prior knowledge of the film. I knew she was a reporter because she wore glasses and had ruffled hair. Clooney, for all the subtlety he gets from performers, is in full-on Confessions of a Dangerous Mind mode when it comes to visualizing his characters.

-Speaking of Confessions, this makes two films in which Clooney has cast himself as the antagonist of sorts. I don't think it's a role for which he's particularly well suited, but since it's only really been twice now, it has felt like a breath of fresh air each time. So in other words, if he made a habit of this, I'd get sick of it fast, but since it's so spread out, it works quite nicely, and he's very good in the film.

-IMDB assures me that I have seen Jennifer Ehle in stuff before Contagion, but that was the first film in which I really noticed her, and between that and this, she's my new favorite actress. Does almost nothing but is so naturally wonderful it makes me wonder if I'm just missing the millions of tiny things she's doing.

-Max Minghella (a.k.a. Divya a.k.a. the Winklevii's friend in The Social Network) is a really good actor, but I wonder if he'll only ever work in movies about processes, i.e. he's uniquely suited to spouting exposition and portraying someone caught in the beginning of a success he always expected.

-I know it's cool to rag on her, but I still like Evan Rachel Wood. This isn't her strongest moment, but her character is also kind of ridiculous, and more than a little bit of a plot device. I can totally see the character working really well onstage, and a little bit broader, but the translation loses a lot by demanding subtlety.

It's an uneven film to be sure, yet I think it might be Clooney's best to date. Good Night, and Good Luck was a more unified work, perhaps, but it was also a lot simpler. With this, Clooney's actually making a film about something in us as people, and how that manifests itself in modern life.

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