Friday, March 05, 2010
Can We Talk?
I heard Joan Rivers on The Howard Stern Show earlier this week. She happily discussed and told jokes about a guy who died recently while she was in the middle of having dinner with him--she's still very quick and just as fearless as Stern. If someone really wanted to shake up these late night wars, they'd give her a show. If this world were right in any way, she'd bury Leno.
But who's to say if the world's right? I saw Shutter Island last night. It's not bad. It seems to be Scorsese channelling Stanley Kubrick and Alfred Hitchcock--my friend Marty had told me about it being very Hitchcock, but the severe, slow orchestra soundtrack with fast moving aerial shots at the beginning immediately put me in the mind of Kubrick. And sure enough, Shutter Island's rather fascinating soundtrack features some of Kubrick's favourite Polish composers, Krzysztof Penderecki and Gyorgy Ligeti. Gyorgy Ligeti can make anything seem really serious, as those who viewed my recent video of a raccoon might know.
There is certainly plenty of Hitchcock, too. Most pleasantly for me in the rich colour palette--in this damned modern era of lazy cinematographers washing out colour as much as possible to achieve gloom or "rawness", Scorsese still knows there's nothing more striking than colour used right. There were great blue and brown suits, fedoras, and even some Lynchian red drapes with marble statues. Perhaps the most obviously Hitchcockian moment sees DiCapro climbing down an almost sheer wall over jagged, surf pounded rocks where he thinks he's seen the fallen body of his friend. Then there's a moment that reminded me of Cocteau as DiCaprio finds it was a peculiarly man-shaped rock, a discovery accompanied by a choral sting reminiscent to me of when Cocteau would have something quick and weird happen.
There were a lot of just beautifully composed shots, too--those featuring Michelle Williams being particularly luscious. There's a shot of bodies floating in a lake near the end filled with lily pads I found particularly gorgeous and there's a nice visual motif of things fluttering in the air throughout the film--ashes, papers, even tree limbs during a storm sequence.
I deeply appreciate the focus of the film's story, self-perception and the value of people who are considered monsters by society. The film's last lines, "You know, this place makes me wonder . . . Which would be worse, to live as a monster or to die as a good man?" nicely highlights this, though I rather wish the film had been more of a rumination on it. I think less procedural detective stuff and maybe more of a focus on DiCaprio's relationship with Michelle Williams would have been good. I really would have liked some scenes of them getting to know each other.
The casting's great in the movie, and I love Scorsese for putting Ben Kingsley and Max von Sydow in good roles.
Afterwards, I had dinner at Denny's and kind of wish I hadn't because to-day I feel like I swallowed several infants and a rock. Oy.
Last night's tweets;
The new beast's fake fruit ribs arch overhead.
Gnats and flies make eating indoors pointless.
Fresh strawberries in old oatmeal we're fed.
Introduce Dracula to a countess.