Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Two extremely different films.

One featuring puppets pretending to be real people. One featuring real people pretending to be fake people. Well, superheroes.

Anomalisa versus Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice.

Batman V Superman is a piece of nonsense. Whoever thought it was a good idea to take two characters from effectively different worlds and smush them together? The result is as smushy as you'd expect. Suffice to say I traipsed along to please others younger than myself.

Having said that, it has an impressive cast. Ben Affleck (assuming you think he's impressive). Holly Hunter. Laurence Fishburne. Jeremy Irons. Amy Adams. It's very nicely art directed. Lovely desaturated colour. Christopher Nolan is (one of) the executive producers so it's touched, at least, by apocalyptic expertise. It's suspenseful in a sort of mushy half-hearted way. The plot is very lively if not particularly easy to follow. And if you just want to watch a pack of handsome people chasing each other about and blowing stuff up, it's spot on.

There is one reason and one reason alone to watch this movie to my mind. And that's Jesse Eisenberg. You'll have seen him on screen before but man oh man, never like this. For sweet faced Jesse is (spoiler alert!) playing the baddie. And he's a seething steely gibbering maniacal frantic feverish baddie. I found myself thinking of the late and great Heath Ledger which, for a boy that cut his mainstream teeth on The Social Network, is hopefully a worthy compliment.

Anomalisa could hardly be further from the empty-headed whizz bangs of the so-called Dawn of Justice. (I dread the sequels if this one was only the dawn.) Anomalisa sees Charlie Kaufman continue to blunder about in quest of the point of all this strutting and fretting our hours upon this tiny stage. I'm not sure he finds it but he does shed a light on how much we look to other people to give us a reason to get up in the morning.

The film tells the story of well and truly over life Michael, eking out an existence on the small town public speaking circuit, paying cursery attention to his family back home while plaintively, passively, ploddingly hopeful for something more. The nuts thing is that Michael is a puppet. But a puppet so real, placed in settings so incredibly carefully created, that you quickly forget that "he" isn't real.

So the film is more or less instantly a masterpiece, I'd say. As it's so incredibly beautifully realised. (Stop-motion, silicone puppets, 3D printing for the facial expressions. Hours and hours and HOURS of work.)
But it's also a careful, considered and kind study of how we continue to wish for something better. How we fail to see the good in what we have. How we fancy that some perfect solution lurks just around the corner. And how we'll happily drag those closest to us down in this search for the thing that's surely hanging out waiting for us. Just over the rainbow.


Post a Comment

<< Home