Tonight I watched a really beautiful film, Jean-Marc Vallée and Nick Hornby’s adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s auto-biographical memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.
Wild is remarkable; Not only does the film feature some beautiful landscapes from across California and Oregon, but it manages to create a compelling and engaging drama from a fairly simple narrative: the story of one woman’s journey on foot across America as she walks the Pacific Crest Trail.
I think the reason the film works so well is because it manages to reflect human nature both at large (through the weird and wonderful people she meets along the way and the experiences she has) as well as on the inside (by treating us to numerous flashbacks into Cheryl’s past, allowing us to see the tragedies and joys of her unprivileged life that have brought her to this point).
Reese Witherspoon does an excellent job of conveying a damaged but strong and hopeful woman, and certainly deserves the Oscar nomination – but the writer and the director deserve the lion’s share of the credit for bringing this meandering journey to the screen in a way that makes sense. Nick Hornby’s touch is evident, he always seems to brings characters to life in a way that makes you appreciate the totality of their lives, not just the moments that we see. The internal thought vocalisations and well-timed flashbacks really help us understand Cheryl and where she has come from. And if this is typical of Vallée’s work, it makes me want to watch Dallas Buyers’ Club all the more.
Wild is a film that can’t fail to move you. As Cheryl remembers the defining moments of her life it seems almost every aspect of human nature is given space for us to feel and ponder it – love, loss, missed opportunity, random chance, depression, hope, determination and family. The film made me think a lot about my own life, it made me sad for the bad things that have happened, and joyful for the good things in my life. As someone who has travelled a lot, I know that travelling is as much about the journey you make through your thoughts and memories as it is about the experiences you have on the outside, and the film manages to do justice to both aspects equally.
But I think what is most impressive about this film is this: That it can bring the viewer a degree of the self-reflection Cheryl Strayed experienced on her journey, that for a couple of hours it takes you on your own little journey through the wilderness.
Thoroughly recommended, the best film of the year so far, and very deserving of Oscar nominations and more.Read More
“Science Friction” (2013, Canada) – Director Liam P Kiernan – sciencefrictionthemovie.com
“Science Friction” is a movie I really wanted to like. When I was invited to the first ever screening of a new Montreal-made sci-fi movie I was very excited. The trailer promised tense drama with lots of action and other-worldly happenings – an asteroid slowing as it approaches the earth; a glowing sphere, arcing with energy; a strange figure in a diving suit wandering through a cave; explosions, blood, and fire.
The narrative of the movie concerns reluctant projectionist Jack, who is tricked into chauffeuring three girls on a drug run across the Mexican border. Deep in the Mexican woods (which look suspiciously like Quebec, but that’s forgivable!), they take a wrong turn and find themselves in trouble, stranded by a dilapidated old house. Inside lives a crazed old man, Billy, and an alien presence lurks in the caves below.
The ideas underlying the narrative are clever: the alien compels each character to each face the demons of their past, to conquer the guilt that is, as one beautiful line of dialogue describes it, “tattooed upon their souls”. Flashbacks and smart Tarantino-style time jumps are used to convey backstory with good effect, and I enjoyed being left with a puzzle to piece together.
Unfortunately, the movieRead More
Normally when I like a movie, the first thing I do when I get home from the cinema is to jump online and see what other people have said, gauge opinions, validate theories, and dig deeper into the director, writer, actors etc. But this film made such an impact I’m going to be bold and review it purely on my own impressions. It was, quite simply, outstanding. It was the best film I’ve seen all year, even better than Inception and Source Code, the only two other mainstream releases that have really wowed me this year. (I’m not counting Tron Legacy; that one certainly wowed me, but on reflection I realized it was all style and no substance).
It’s surprising how much green screen technology is used in the movies. I hadn’t realised quite how much until I saw this video.
This is very cool.. There’s this problem with electric cars, that they’re too quiet, especially at low speeds – Pedestrians don’t hear them coming. Nissan have realised they need to give their car a noise. So they’ve turned to Blade Runner for inspiration.. Why make your car sound like a petrol car when it can sound futuristic! Read the full story here.