Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dialogue that defines the movie - Serendipity

This is a beautiful piece of writing, one that completely defines the tone of the movie. You need to actually watch the movie to understand its context, but inspite of that, I guess you can still gather the inherent philosophy, that is presented in a comical yet so strangely a poignant and serious note.

"Jonathan Trager, prominent television producer for ESPN, died last night from complications of losing his soul mate and his fiance. He was 35 years old. Softspoken and obsessive, Trager never looked the part of a hopeless romantic. But in the final days of his life he revealed an unknown side of psyche. This quasi-jungian persona surfaced during the Agatha Christie like pursuit for his long reputed soul mate, the woman he only spent the few precious hours with. Sadly, the protracted search ended late Saturday night in complete and utter failure. Yet even in certain defeat, the courageous Trager secretly comes to the belief that life is not merely a series of meaningless accidents or coincidences, ahah, but rather it's a tapestry of events that culminate in an exquisite sublime plan. Asked about the loss of his dear friend, Dean Kansky, the Pulitzer Prize winning author and executive editor of New York Times, described Jonathan as a changed man in the last days of his life. Things were clear for him, Kansky noted. Ultimately Jonathan concluded that if we are to live life in harmony with the universe, we must all possess a powerful faith in what the ancients call fate or what we currently refer to as destiny."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

"How can you heal if you can't even feel time?" - Memento.

Director: Christopher Nolan
Cast: Guy Perace, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano
Writers: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan
Genre: Crime, Mystery, Thriller

Another one of Christopher Nolan's finely narrated thrillers, Memento, with its backward narration style is by no means a movie meant for those who just want to watch and enjoy a no-brainer. Your brain will be gnawing at your skull at all points trying to figure out what just happened. It's suspense filled till the climax, not until then, do you figure out what really happened, and only then will you be able to grasp the movie in its entirety. At the end of it there will be a distinct feeling of satisfaction,a feeling that you were challenged intellectually and you came out on top.

Well, that's how i felt while watching the movie, inspite of having watched the Tamil Blockbuster Ghajini, which is an Indian adaptation of Memento. So knowing the story meant that well, Memento was not as suspense packed to me as it should have been, but i liked it all the same, particularly because of its reverse narration style. Memento is about a person who suffers from short term memory loss trying to find the killer of his wife and the culprit for his condition, John G. So every now and then the protagonist is shaken up, not remembering what he was doing, not remembering what he is supposed to do next. Because of Nolan's narration style at no point do we really know more than what the protagonist knows or remembers from the notes he makes to supersede his failing memory. And by backward narration style this is what I mean - the beginning of the movie shows the protagonist killing John G and the climax shows how he got to finding this John G. Morever it ends with the movie open to interpretation. Either the protagonist himself could be the killer of his wife and he is trying to get over his remorse with the creation of a fictitious killer or maybe the person he finds as John G is the real killer.

This aspect of making your brain work is to a certain extent absent in Ghajini. I wouldn't call Ghajini a no-brainer but well the forward narration style that is followed takes off the sheen a little bit. There's also more masala introduced into the script, unrealistic stunts, unnecessary dance numbers, all of which click with the Indian audience, oh well, I guess this is what an adaptation means. The movie shouldn't bomb. There should be elements introduced into it to make it succeed with even the frill loving audience. That's a different school of thought, a different movie industry. So no point comparing Ghajini and Memento.

All the same Memento is a must watch if you are in a mood to think; otherwise, i would suggest, keep it for later.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Lake House

It's hypothetical, conceptual and completely unrealistic but nice all the same. Maybe it's the lack of that extra dose of reality that makes the movie so good to watch. There's actually not a moment in the movie "The Lake House" that makes you feel bored, not a moment that makes you feel enough is enough, unlike those so many movies bordered beyond the scope of reality.

But not this one. You know for sure that it is impossible, but you tend to romanticize, what if? You pretty much get the gist of what's going on half way through the movie and if you have watched many movies, you will also get a hint of the climax, but I can bet you will complete the movie, if not for the story, atleast for the serene music.

The music!!! That's one thing. So peaceful, so soothing. You tend to float with the melodious sound waves from the beginning of the movie to the end. The music caresses you through. Takes you to the end and even if the climax is just as you expected, you will like it all the same.

The movie's about a conversation through letters written between Alex Wyler (Keanu Reeves) living in 2004 and Kate Forrester (Sandra Bullock) living in 2006. Feels crazy, just writing that. Mind you - it's a "conversation" not a narration. They gradually fall in love and their desire to meet each other unfortunately results in the death of one. Though of course, knowledge of the future can be used to save lives, especially if you can talk to the past. That's expected and that's exactly how the movie ends when they both finally meet up, after a four year wait for Alex Wyler and a two year one for Dr. Forrester, on Valentine's Day 2008.

But ya, there's one paradox in the climax that the Director may have just ignored. Its actually the sight of a then unknown Alex Wyler's death in front of Dr. Forrester that made her go back to her happy old home, the lakehouse, and it was then that the beatiful converstaion got kicked off. But of course, if she saves Wyler from that death, then she wouldn't go back to the lake house, the conversation would never have happened and the love story couldn't exist in the first place. So they just can't be together at the end of the movie. But well time travel and its corresponding paradoxes is a whole lot of mumbo jumbo. Nothing ever seems to fit. So all the same, I am ready to ignore this paradox, for in the remaining 90 minutes I had a really good time.