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Monthly Archives: September 2018

Of course it is possible to develop an interest in the love life of the Inuit, even though in general you would not be too interested in Inuit matters. There’s plenty of interesting stories to be told when it comes to love stories and personal drama. If you find these stories, then any setting can be a thrilling backdrop and any drama can be gripping. This could also work for the lives of archaeologists hanging out in Northern Italy, drinking orange juice and coffee on their villa’s terrace and speaking in a variety of languages. Only… nothing that happens in “Call Me By Your Name” interested me very much. Yes, there is a bit of coming of age and discovering one’s sexuality and serious emotions, there’s some pretty people and some … ah, no, that’s about it. I could not, I admit, connect to this. I kept wondering when something exciting or dramatic was about to happen, and the wait continued until it turned, quite frankly, into being annoyed by all these people.

Now well if you liked the tv show Heroes and its flavor of slightly rubbish personal approach to flawed superheroism before superheroes were a thing. And if you like the prototypical Korean approach to corrupt government, sexual stereotypes and the power of money. And if you don’t mind a rather flat family story about a father worried about disappointing his daughter… it all does not sound too exciting, no? It is not. About 20 minutes in, it is clear where this is heading, and any excitement credit that you may have had for the director of “Train to Busan” evaporates. Psychokinesis is disappointingly dull, the core premise of an everyday loser guy who stumbles upon the ability to move objects with his mind is just not enough to create something interesting out of the class struggle piece. Matter-of-fact, had he only discovered to use fists and weapons, at least there would have been some interesting set pieces. As it is, what we get is rather arbitrary cross-cutting between a police interrogation and an increasingly unlikely street battle about a bit of development land. All written and edited sub-par, and my hope of coming across another one of these splendidly weird Korean thriller crossovers that have been so much fun over the past decade come to nothing.

Ridley Scott has an astonishing film record. He directed some of the greatest films of the last decades, but over the last 10 years or so, I feel it harder to grow warm anticipation to the respective next project. To many disappointments paved his way, the Alien prequels most recently, but also the non SciFi works such as “The Counsellor”, were rather meh… Still, there are gems, also recently, such as “The Martian”, and I wouldn’t want to miss his respective next movie, as there’s usually something interesting to be had. With “All the Money in the World”, there’s a bunch of actors that I would always pay to see (Michelle Williams and Christopher Plummer, most notably). There is a 1970s setting that promises fun production design, and there’s an abduction story that promises at least a good starting point. On the other hand… “Based on a real story” more often than not announces a certain level of predictability and ordinariness, and I need to state that “All the Money…” fulfils this expectation. There are not many aspects about the story that elevate the film above what you can expect when reading the premise or the plot summary. As dramatic as events may have been, sticking close to what actually occurred imposes shackles that make the plot development a bit too straightforward to actually be exciting.

Still there is Plummer as Jean Paul Getty, billionaire misanthropist and possibly the best and worst grandfather one could imagine. He is quite astonishing a character in his Xanadu world, the pleas for a bit of human touch deflecting on his hard shell that defines his life as a business man. The kidnappers are pretty cardboardish, (accurately or not) representing the worst clichés of small-time Italian crooks and (later) organized crime. While I do in general like Mark Wahlberg as a screen presence, he is not given a lot to do in his role as privately hired investigator, making his part feel a bit shoehorned into the story to allow for another A-list actor to fill the poster.

The film is still entertaining (and the post-production recasting does not matter when you watch it), but at the end of the day, it will be pretty hard to remember a lot about it in a couple of weeks or even years. Not among Scott’s master pieces.

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