It’s all over in the space of a few seconds, but everything about it is “off.” The sequence feels wrong because of the length of the takes. These few seconds of screentime, fleeting though they are, take too long to unfold.
If Hong is indeed the best that we have got, there is something troubling about this fact. For it should detract nothing from the integrity of his body of work to say that, when taken altogether, it is a quintessential expression of a cinema of disappointment and diminished expectations.
It is hard not to marvel at how rare it is to be set loose in the dusty archives of someone’s private life, with a narrator whose uncertainty about what to make of it all happens to mirror our own.
As the story of America unfolds, the emblems of civilization—cars, buildings, and above all those black, foreboding power lines—multiply like bacteria, until they are the story. Conceived, in theory, to make life more pleasant, contemporary American society has become a prison...
Three Billboards is the kind of momentary crowd-pleasing entertainment that will satiate audiences looking for the movie equivalent of a knee to the crotch—which not so incidentally is one of its defining images.
The proliferation of domestic film festivals and the support of the National Film Development Corporation of India have facilitated an increasing number of local, out-of-mainstream spaces for film production and viewership, enabling the rise of regional independent movements.
What has not changed, despite the shift into genre, is the commitment to helping us sympathize with damaged, alienating (and alienated) people. In his films we might feel the discomfort of self-recognition from these characters, while in all but the finest horror films, their predicament is usually reduced to a motive for a reign of bloody terror.
To view Coppola’s plots as flimsy or nonexistent is to miss the point. The depth of her work is not characterized by meaning, but by organization. The character portraits, spaces, and sounds that comprise her films foster a unified vision of emptiness.
An occasional tin ear for old-guy dialogue suggests Linklater might still be more comfortable with the casual-philosophical badinage of those a decade or more his junior, but the 12-year gestation gives the film the distance crucial to its angry, sad, but, in hindsight, wise perspective on the early Iraq War years.
Gerwig evokes that specifically senior-year feeling of the rapid approach of adulthood through a swift editing style, offering a dynamic rhythm that conjures the sense of finite time she has with family and friends, a patchwork of energetic montages propelling Christine and the story forward.
In a film like The Work, with its multiple layers of privileged access and precariously obtained permissions from an array of potentially volatile participants, you are not just being allowed to see. Your sight is essential. Seeing and being seen is the point.