Posted by blk1 on March 15, 2008
I know that I’ve been more focused on my slices of life challenge but I can’t help but share a few thoughts on movies, fresh and refreshed.
For a new movie, just out and a bit of a surprise for me, we saw The Bank Job , rated on Rotten Tomatoes with a 78% FRESH. I was skeptical, but it was on Tuvia’s insistence and that counts. Usually I find the movies.
The main character, Terry (Jason Stratham) is an interesting anti-hero. We saw him in an earlier shoot-em-up a few years ago. He’s rugged and authentic with a strong British working-class accent, not a Brad Pitt/George Clooney type.
So here’s Terry, owner of a garage, owing money to the mob and it’s 1971 London. The air is filled with sex, drugs, corruption in high places and Terry is hungry to offer his wife and kids something better, even if it means, hey, rob a bank when a golden opportunity comes his way brokered by an old flame.
He remains a guy from the neighborhood with his same circle of chums from childhood and that moves us to root for him even when it’s clear that he knows something about the dark side of the law.
The plan, suggested and sanctioned by high level English officials, is to rob only from the rich. A Lloyds bank vault is filled with incriminating security boxes, one in particulat houses compromising photos of the Queen’s sister. Terry, his old fame, Martine, and his lads work well together, ingenious in their preparations.
We begin and end the two hours on the edge of our seats, cheering for the boys.
It’s fun, two hours of fun. And to think, I really wanted to see Taxi to the Dark Side, the Oscar-winning documentary focused on the abusive lengths our democratic government was willing to go to hunt down terrorists. Don’t worry that is still on the list, but it will have to wait until we are back from Israel.
The Bank Job, remains perfect entertainment for a Saturday night out.
What’s more serious for me is the continued dialogue I’m having with myself and then with Tuvia about The Counterfeiters and The Lives of Others, two recent Oscar winners for best Foreign Film. Both remain with me and seem connected somehow.
I’ve written at length about both films, but still they engage me. Both movies are German-language films dealing with issues deeply felt, even now, in these countries: the Holocaust and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Both of these films center our attention on very intriguing, unlikely protagonists. Both are bald, unattractive on the surface, so we are not dazzled by their good looks as we get to explore their richly complex characters. Don’t worry, both movies offer some very good looking( and interesting) characters as well.
These leads characters don’t win us over with their sensitivity or their bravery. But as each one struggles with life and the other characters they interact with we are moved by their personal discoveries of their deep sense of justice and humanity.
I think The Lives of Others might be a perfect movie and the The Counterfeiters, one that challenges my sense of justice. There’s an interesting spectrum present: One one end we have the young, attractive, crusader who must do the right thing no matter what the cost. He and his wife are Jews in two different concentration camps, who have fought from the start against the Nazis and now as prisoners, continue. He will not be used for his talent and uses his opportunities to subvert the counterfeiting process, risking his life and the rest of the group. Once he discovers that his wife has been killed he considers himself dead anyway.
On the other side, there are the men who will accept anything, any humiliation to remain alive. And Salomon “Sally” Sorowitsch our master counterfeiter has always been comfortable to remain in the shadows, indifferent to the politics around him, but when he finds himself the leader of this band, he begins to see things differently. A new sense of loyalty and courage grow and flourish in him.
That’s what happens to the protagonist in Lives…He has been loyal only to the state. It’s only when he moves from watching to seeing, that he must reach out to Others.
I am hoping that as time passes, I will find more intersections. I embrace the challenge.
BRING IT ON!!!!.