Movie Reviews: "Flags Of Our Fathers", "One Night With The King", and "Borat"
After about a month of no movie-going, I tried to make up for it with a vengence this week by going to three. Here are my short thoughts on these movies, in the order I attended them:
Flags of our Fathers: This isn't one of those movies where you're going to walk out all energized and loving life. While the most fascinating sequences are the ones of combat action on Iwo Jima, the overall "downer" tone of the movie comes from the scenes of the surviving Iwo Jima flag-raisers trying to reconcile what they've seen with doing what's expected of them back home. The last 15 minutes are pretty much complete anti-climax, but I think they contain the heart of Eastwood's attempt to redefine what "heroism" really means. I've never been in land combat, but I've read a lot about Iwo Jima, and it seems like the movie does a pretty good job of showing what the fighting in this hellhole was actually like. Based on that, I'm really looking forward to Eastwood's "companion" piece, Letters from Iwo Jima, that's due out next year -- it purports to tell the story of Iwo Jima from the Japanese perspective.
One Night with the King: Basically, the story of Esther from the Old Testament. I liked it a lot; it was better than the standard Bible story movie, in that you didn't have a feeling that you were going to see a plane flying by in the distance at any time. They made some changes to the biblical story to make for a better movie narrative, but this didn't take away from the main themes: faith in God will be rewarded, and true love conquers all. (Off topic: Ever since we went to the movie, SubBasket has been asking when I'm going to become all bronzed and muscular like the King Xerxes character. I told her that's a ship that unfortunately has already sailed...)
Borat: I'm not sure where to begin here; I had read most of the reviews of the movie, so I wasn't as surprised (or shocked) as most of the audience by some of the stunts they pulled. Cutting to the chase: If you like South Park and the Monty Python movies (particularly "Life of Brian") you'll probably like Borat -- unless you really have something against nude men wrestling around in disturbing positions. If you're at all sensitive about having everything you hold dear being abused, though, you probably shouldn't go. The movie's been #1 for two weeks in a row now, and has spawned a couple of lawsuits, so it can't be all bad. (I don't think the lawsuit by the frat boys has any merit, although I think the Romanian villager who was filmed with the "rubber fist" sex toy taped to the stub of his arm has a better case.)
I can highly recommend the first two movies; as far as "Borat" goes, you'll have to decide for yourself.