River’s Edge

river's edge

Here’s a dark little ditty about unfeeling Generation X youth not feeling much at all and slowly zoning out of life. It’s as if they’ve all taken Valium and are just getting on with things while half asleep. When one of their number is killed by another member of the gang none of them can really feel much more than apathy which they realise and it’s devastating. Welcome to River’s Edge

The killer is never quite sure why he killed he just wanted the girl to stop talking. He didn’t love her, it wasn’t a crime of passion, it was just death. The dark apathy shown by these kids throughout the film is really sad and kind of scary. They decide they need to protect their mate but at the same time are conflicted by the fact that another of their friends is dead and the killer has no remorse. In fact he just tells them and then shows them the body. Their lack of reaction to her dead naked form is a truly devastating moment.

There is a sense of dread throughout River’s Edge which is odd because we know about the murder from the first scene. The dread derives from the inability of these teens to do anything combined with the driving need for something to be done. It’s like waiting for a bomb to time down to zero but not bothering to stop it even though you could.

The main character (wotshisname) is played by Keanu Reeves. This was back in 1986 so I figure it’s early days for Keanu (pre Bill and Ted’s, pre Dangerous Liaisons). I crush on Keanu Reeves – it cannot be denied. Every time I see him in a film I get a little thrill and I may as well be 16 again. I realise this is horribly wrong as I am very well aware that the man can barely act. He is an emotionless void of stiffness in almost every movie. Sometimes that works because that is what the character is like. Sometimes it does not. In River’s Edge I am not sure that either thing occurs. The character is meant to be stiff and emotionless… but Keanu still seems really stiff and emotionless. I get that teenage girls would like him because WHO WOULDN’T?? So the romance makes sense but unfortunately I don’t think Keanu was the right bloke for this role. Of course, I don’t care because I love him forever and ever.

Further along the ‘not the right person for the role’ path was Crispin Glover as the overbearing patriarch of this little group of zoned out teens. He sucked. Not just in character but in massive over-acting. He was really annoying and repeatedly removed me from the movie because I just could not understand why anybody would have him as the leader of their pack. Also his hair is the worst mullet ever. I could never follow someone with hair like that. The weird thing is it kind of looks like a wig. Why, director, why?

Crispin Glover

“I’m really sad because the director made me wear this terrible mullet wig. Not because I’m over-acting or anything…”

I’m very glad that in the end us Gen X-ers didn’t turn out so bad after all. We all got over our sad sack ways and got on with the important stuff… at least that’s what I comfort myself with… (OMG! What will we do when these arseholes run the world?!? Hang on – they already do! Watch out for the Gen X apathy apocalypse y’all!)

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

TGWTDT

The problem with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is that I have actually seen it all before. I have also actually read it all before.

Actually, this remake felt like re-watching the Swedish version except they changed the ending. Duh! Why change the ending when so many people have read the book and seen the Swedish version? I don’t actually like that, no sir.

I have a tendency to remember foreign language films in English – does everyone?. So it didn’t even feel very new to see the movie in English.

I suppose I wanted to see what an American production would do with it and I was pleasantly surprised by the lack of dumbing down I expected.

The Girl with the DT is complicated. There are so many characters and all their Swedish names sound the same (sorry Swedish people your names are generic to mine ears…). While reading the book I even wished the names where a bit different so I could keep track, is it just me? Am I name blind? Although it is something that mainly happens when I’m reading Swedish to English crime novels. So I think I am just Swedish name blind so there’s probably a pair of glasses I can buy for that. Or maybe Swedish name blindness correcting laser surgery. Yes, that.

Aah, yes, movie. I like Rooney Mara but I wasn’t so fussed with Daniel Craig (second Daniel Craig movie in a row – that’s enough). I preferred Michael Nyquist as Mikael Blomquist (see! Swedish names!). Noomi Rapace is still my favourite Lisbeth Salander because she was the first portrayal I saw of a kick-arse character and she matched the Lisbeth in my head.

Lisbeth is not the main character but she goes through so much in the movie/book and you really start to feel her pain and frustration at her lot in life. She is constantly forced to interact with people in line with their requirements like having to be nice – she hates that. I suppose there is a little bit of Lisbeth in us all sometimes when we just want to hide and be left alone to do what we do. I just hope we don’t all have the psychopath streak as well…

This film is graphic and tells a story of hatred. Hatred of women, hatred of difference, religious hatred it doesn’t really hold back. The violence is lessened in this movie than in the book or the Swedish version but it is still confronting and you will flinch. It’s realistic and it’s gross and it’s horrible but it’s not unnecessary. The violence forms the characters and violence is the basis of the story. The horrible things people do.

The cold of the Swedish weather is palpable and really is part of the violence the characters experience. The sterile beauty of the scenery is perfect considering the sterile and vicious lives the main characters are investigating.

This version is a bit plodding through the middle but that may be because I actually knew what was meant to happen next all the time. The changed ending was a pain but probably wouldn’t have been if I hadn’t already actually known what was meant to happen next all the time.

Don’t think I’ll bother with the sequels when they come out. I’ve actually already seen them.

I’m Not Scared

I'm not scared 2

I was. Scared that is. This movie starts out like a horror film. I’m not good at horror. I spent the first twenty minutes watching the stressful parts through my fingers. Which is hard when you’re also trying to read subtitles.

I’m Not Scared is a great film. A really intelligent thriller.

The main character is a ten year old boy who is intelligent and brave. Although a little too brave really as he insisted on looking down the hole a few too many times if you ask me (I’ll answer from behind my fingers).

Said hole contained a little boy who I thought was a monster at first (when looking through my fingers) but things turn out a little different from how it starts.

This film was so clever. The main character didn’t do anything ridiculously heroic or stupid action-y he just reacted as an inquisitive child with a good heart would. The situation he found himself in was realistic when considering his village life and the secretive nature of the villagers and his folks.

I completely recommend this one. And even though you feel like you need to watch from behind the couch at first it really isn’t a horror film at all. The suspense is so well achieved. No cheap use of what I like to call ‘stress music’. (You know the stuff, thudding beat building to a crescendo that you know is going to make you jump – I’m looking at you The Woman in Black – I hate those films. They really would be almost nothing without the stress music.)

Even Miss 14 who watched with me (and also started out ‘behind the couch’) thought this was a good movie.

I did wonder when it started why I would have written a horror movie on to my list as I’m so completely useless at watching them (damn you stress music) but I should trust myself (maybe).

Also, it’s in Italian and, yay, subtitles win!

Next film on the list is The Triplets of Belleville. This one’s a cartoon, I remember that much, it may also be a musical, not sure. Might be okay to watch with the kids anyway.