10/19 Quick Post

Hi everyone! This week we’ll have three more quick updates, this time by our friend Seth. Enjoy his take on Sicario and The Walk. Again, we may be reviewing these films with full length reviews in the near future, so stay tuned!

 sicario

Sicario
9.0 out of 10

Sicario had been on my radar for a little bit with star power such as Emily Blunt, Benicio del Toro and Josh Brolin starring in it as well as the director of Prisoners and Enemy, Denis Villeneuve, helming the flick. The film takes place in the escalating war against drugs on the border between U.S. and Mexico where Emily Blunt’s character, Kate Macer, is an FBI agent elected to government task force, and slowly becomes slowly entrenched in the mayhem.  And Sicario is pretty brilliant.

The story is the weakest part of the film, with nothing really incredible in terms of its storytelling of the drug trade protruding, especially if you have seen Breaking Bad with its use of the cartel. But the film’s excellence is in its execution of a middling story. Villeneuve creates a slow burn throughout, leading to some pretty suspenseful scenes, paired with the cinematography of Roger Deakins who is a favorite mine, to set up a technically beautiful film.  The long, slow shots of the desert or of the task force vehicle driving may seem unnecessary, but is all used to set up the dirty, grungy tone of the film. Paired with the film’s physical beauty, the performances of Emily Blunt and Benicio Del Toro are some of the best this year, with the viewer feeling for the innocence of Blunt’s character and interested in the dark past of Del Toro’s character.

I would strongly recommend seeing Sicario, but not without the understanding that it is much more of a character driven, art piece than a straight up thriller like it has been marketed as. Very few films today are made with such precise care and intelligence.

the walk

The Walk
7.0 out of 10

I was skeptical when I heard about The Walk, the incredible true story of Phillippe Petit, a Frenchman who walked across the Twin Towers in the 1970s on a tightrope, because of how great the documentary about the story was in Man On Wire, so didn’t feel it was necessary to make another retelling And while this version doesn’t have the surprising emotional punch that the documentary had, it did showcase the scale of his feat. With Robert Zemeckis, the director of the Back to The Future trilogy, Forrest Gump, and Cast Away, helming the film, it has some pretty awesome visuals and camerawork, especially the walk on the wire itself. I saw it in IMAX 3D, and even though I know the result because of seeing the documentary, my palms were sweaty and eyes hurt to keep watching as he took each step out on the wire. Also the heist element in the second act leading up to the walk was also very well done as you felt the suspense of the whole operation as Petit had many associates to get him on the top floor of the towers and string a wire between them.

Yet what didn’t work for me was the part before the actual day and the characters themselves. Joseph Gordon Levitt plays Petit, and although he is trying his best to bring wonder and interest into his role, it seems odd to see a guy who you usually see speaking in an American accent still speaking English, but in a French accent as well as his odd voicovers on the Statue of Liberty that tried to force you to feel one way, which is never good. It would have made more sense to have casted an actual French actor in the rol. Also while some depth his given to his character, the rest are simply caricatures and stereotypes whether they were French and American, despite the good acting talent.

Yet despite the hokey nature of the first act and poor characters, The Walk’s finale is suspenseful enough to go see it in the biggest screen possible, and then go home and watch the documentary as well.

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