Tag Archives: mike nichols

Closer – Review

28 Nov

I love the feeling when the credits of a movie begin to roll and I feel like I just got the shit kicked out of me. That may sound weird, but it’s evidence that the movie achieved some sort of strong emotional response. That’s how I felt at the end of Closer, a brutal war of words and deception among four lovers, where love is often absent and lust is the puppet master.

After helping the eccentric Alice (Natalie Portman) after getting hit by a car, obituary writer, Dan (Jude Law), becomes romantically involved with her. Everything seems to be fine once his true lustful nature is revealed when he meets a photographer named Anna (Julia Roberts). She denies Dan at first and meets another sexually frustrated individual, dermatologist Larry (Clive Owen). Soon, the lives of these lovers intersect through their lies and deceitful acts of love and hate.

This is a dirty tango of words with dialogue that aims to stab the characters through their hearts. I would argue that this isn’t a love story, but more so, a story of hate. Many times do the characters flip between love and hate, lust and disgust. This isn’t a “romance” movie you’d want to go on a first date to see.

Across the board, the performances in Closer are intense and feel legitimate. For me, Clive Owen and Julia Roberts are the real stars of the show, but this doesn’t mean that Natalie Portman and Jude Law shouldn’t get recognition. All I can say is that the scenes between Clive Own and Julia Roberts explode with passion and emotion that I haven’t seen much of recently.

What also adds to this passionate intensity is the expertly written dialogue written by Patrick Marber, who also wrote the stage play, and the fluid camera work and framing by master film maker Mike Nichols. One scene in particular is a beautiful long take through the apartment of two characters. It gives the scene a touch of realism and genuine life. It played so naturally that I didn’t notice at first. The dialogue is sensual, jagged, and rarely tender mixed together in a cauldron of unpredictability.

As an adult “love” story, you may not be able to find anything better than Closer. Well, maybe you can, but this might just turn out to be my favorite romance, if you can call it that. It’ filled with human drama and surprising emotional conflicts that keep the viewer guessing where the plot is going to go. If you can get you hands on this movie, I highly suggest you check it out.

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The Graduate – Review

16 May

Ever since I got to college, a lot of time has been spent in class studying The Graduate, so it was only a matter of time before I actually got to reviewing it. To me, this movie is a classic and is full of memorable scenes that are used to convey the emotions that Benjamin feels. This is a very important movie, and I’m glad I’m finally reviewing it.

Benjamin Braddock (Dustin Hoffman) has finally graduated college with multiple awards and honorable mentions. Now that he’s about to enter the real world, he finds himself to be very nervous about his future. This anxiety is relieved when he enters into an affair with Mrs. Robinson (Anne Bancroft), the older wife of his father’s partner at their law firm. This affair continues of requite some time until Benjamin is forced to take Mrs. Robinson’s daughter, Elaine (Katharine Ross), out, despite Mrs. Robinson’s protestations. Benjamin soon falls in love with Elaine and must unravel himself from the lies that he has caused from his affair in order to be with the one he loves.

Dustin Hoffman gives a fantastic performance that jump started his career and earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. Anne Bancroft and Katharine Ross were also nominated, along with the cinematographer, producer, and writer. The director, Mike Nichols, won the Academy Award for Best Director, however. Bancroft and Hoffman have incredibly awkward chemistry that almost makes some of their scenes hard to watch. This isn’t a bad thing, however, because it gives the characters a massive amount of depth. All of the character are deep, but Benjamin and Mrs. Robinson are very believable.

Technically speaking, The Graduate is a milestone. The editing and different uses of camera lenses give each scene a unique feel. For example, the use of a telephoto lens as Benjamin is running towards a church to stop a wedding makes it feel like Benjamin isn’t gaining any distance, even though he is running really fast. The cinematography also looks fantastic, with lighting that perfectly mimics the mood of the scene.

A really effective part of The Graduate is how much Benjamin’s feelings of anxiety resonate with me, personally. The future is a scary thing, but it is never made into an impossibility. Benjamin spends the entire movie making really quick decisions, which is a very bad idea if you want to be successful in life. The last shot of the movie is exceptionally subtle at saying that this is not the end of Benjamin’s story, and we’ll never know if he goes on to live a happy life.

It is said that this film perfectly captures and explores the theme of rebellious youth in the 1960s. For that time period it was probably true, but nowadays that theme is a bit played out and not very relevant in this case. That’s why the theme of the mysteries and fears of the future are what really support the story. It’s something everyone can relate to, which makes this movie very easy to understand.

The Graduate is a classic in every sense of the word. This will be a film that will be relevant for many years to come because of its themes and performances. The techniques use to make this film were new and exciting at the time and are still being used today, which makes The Graduate exceptional in every aspect. Even the soundtrack by Simon and Garfunkel is something to enjoy. If you haven’t seen this yet, you are really missing out on one of the greatest movies ever made.