Tuesday, 14 May 2013

The Believer

Directed by Henry Bean A young Jewish man Daniel Balint (Ryan Gosling) who grows up to become fiercely anti-Semitic and racist to all other minorities and becomes a Neo-Nazi. Loosely based on a true story of a KKK member Daniel Burros who become a member of the American Nazi Party and The United Klans of America but was exposed by a New York Times reporter to be Jewish and committed suicide.   

Danny Balint is portrayed as an intellectual and well-mannered person however at the same time this unorthodox Jewish boy had a paradox of being a Neo-Nazi. Being utterly vicious and fuelled with hate and even more so being a self-hating Jew this abhorrence only made the delusion even worst. We like to think that being a fascist or racist makes you very narrow minded and viewed of being idiotic well here is a fascist Nazi who is racist to all minorities but he is not the mindless idiotic Ku Klux Klan redneck or skinhead neo-Nazi. This is a young and very smart Jewish man who cultivates fierce anti-Semitic views on the world has a very powerful and persuasive way to rant his political beliefs. Anyone who challenges Daniel receives the full disgust and malevolence but he isn’t just ranting mindlessly Henry Bean not only crafted Danny to become a spiteful racist but a very knowledgeable chauvinistic neo-Nazi. Danny’s outbursts are not seen of mindless racism but rather a speaker who uses reason who effectively commands and mesmerise the people who are around him with what seems to be statistical and factual material but rather propaganda. His style of speeches and manner is identical to Adolf Hitler and his knowledge of Torah, Hebrew and Judaism is from his Jewish background but he sees it as knowing your enemy and compares himself to Adolf Eichmann who studies Judaism.

But beneath this master of dialectic and ice cold vision of white Aryan race was just really a confused and angry boy. Who questions and argues with unorthodox interpretations of scripture like the Binding of Isaac arguing that God wanted Abraham's faith to be unquestioning submission making God not the almighty but rather the tormenter who became power mad. The Believer is a fantastic portrayal of how any anyone can be a Nazi sympathizer or even a Nazi themselves no matter what ethnic background. This is a brilliant drama of one man’s journey of racism and anger is really a voyage of self-loathing.

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Killer Joe

The lurid plot of a sordid Southern Texas family who decides to put a hit out on the evil mother in order to collect the insurance. The plan is instigated by the younger son Chris who owes a big time evil Colonel Sanders brother drug dealer six-thousand dollars. Joe Cooper, a detective by day and a hired hitman at night with the charm and manners of a Southern gentleman accepts the job but for a upfront fee. Chris and his father Ansel will only have the money after the hit has been carried out so Joe spots Chris’s younger sister Dottie and decides to make another deal. Dottie will be Joe’s “retainer" in other words sexual collateral till the insurance money comes through. However when the plans fall through this charming Southern gentleman shows the ruthlessness and hatred to those who do not pay him.

Behind the dazzling blue eyes is demon that not even Satan himself will cross
There is a fine line between Violent and Dark, and William Friedkin’s Killer Joe really does a fantastic leap over the line of ethics with dark humour and gritty violence. Killer Joe’s brilliant genre of Southern Gothic is beautiful portrayal of the subgenre Gothic Fiction; its macabre atmosphere, gritty look into the values of the American South, the decaying derelict forgotten towns of the south, sinister characters that makes you hate them all and last but not least Joe. A dashing character that’s easy on the eyes and charmingly polite with the sexy cowboy accent. But within this man of the law is one of the most disturbing characters since American Psycho Patrick Bateman. William Friedkin beautifully uses The Southern Gothic theme not only for the sake of anticipation of knowing that Joe will not get his money but William explores the social and culture of the Deep South or Forgotten South. The days of cowboys are long gone and it seems that all that’s left is rusted trailers with rundown towns that not even cockroaches occupy the buildings. Surrounded by horrible people who do horrible things there is a constant feeling of claustrophobia and even more so when Chris can’t pay the six thousand dollars, Joe not getting his money and the safety of Dottie.
 "I'm gonna wrap you up in electrician tape and bury you in a coffin about 10 feet deep. I'll tell Amy you asked about her. That'll make her smile." - Digger Soames
The gruesome violence is the harsh reality of the South. Though the Southern states are famous for their well-spoken and gracious manners it is a paradox of the ruthlessness of getting what they want. One of the most fantastic scenes is when Chris is cornered by Digger Soames and his thugs. After being chased by motorbikes and cornered into a closed empty warehouse knowing that Chris is going to get his face kicked in. There is utterly so much tension in the air and it is broken by the polite manners and charm of Digger. In fact you even forget that Chris is going to get a whooping with the laughing and small talk between the two. However Digger reminds Chris last minute before he sets off “Damn, you make me laugh. Hey, listen, I'm just gonna have the boys here kick the shit out of you”. We never truly see the wrath of Joe till finally he knows he won’t get paid. Out of all the objects someone can be beaten with, baseball bats, police batons, heck even umbrellas if Jackie Chan was in the house. I would have never of guessed a can of pumpkin puree. Maybe Joe is a big fan of Andy Warhol’s Campbell's Soup Cans art work or maybe he is so ridiculous deranged and angry the nearest object to him was the can. In all honestly I’d rather be beaten with a can pumpkin puree then be forced to simulate oral sex on a piece of fried chicken.
Killer Joe Cooper's version of Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can
Killer Joe is one of the most brilliantly; twisted, darkest, redneck and trailer trash films I’d honestly love to say is one of my favourite films for standing as both a respectable and brutality perverted violent films of 2012. Matthew McConaughey performance as Killer Joe Cooper is a charismatic polite detective cowboy who makes a lovely evening of tuna casserole into a sadistic night of fried chicken. I haven’t seen a psychotic ruthless killer since Mary Harron’s 2000 American Psycho Patrick Bateman.
"If you insult me again, I will cut your face off and wear it over my own. Do you understand?"
- Joe Cooper

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Leon: The Professional

A twelve year old Mathilda (Natalie Portman) living in the slums of New York with an abusive father that works for drug dealers and a mother that doesn’t care much for her children. This sordid lifestyle of drugs and violence is none the less the norm to Mathilda. Her only close bond with her family is her younger four year old brother and a mysterious next door neighbour Leon (Jean Reno). Upon returning home from an errand Mathilda discovers that her family including her brother has been brutally killed in a raid by corrupted DEA agents led by her father’s drug dealing boss the psychotic and also corrupt head DEA agent Stansfield (Gary Oldman). Mathilda realizes that if the DEA agents discover that she also lives there they’d kill her. Holding the tears back she walks to her secretive neighbour’s door. Reluctant to open the door at first but then finally he does. Mathilda discovers that Leon is no ordinary cleaner but rather a professional assassin, working for an old time friend and mob kingpin based in Little Italy Tony (Danny Aiello). Wanting to avenge her brother, Mathilda wants to learn the tricks of the trade of being a professional assassin and makes a deal with Leon to become his protégée. In exchange for working as an actual cleaner and domestic servant, hoping to learn to be a hitman and finally kill the men who took her brother’s life. As live and work together the two begin a strange affection for one another and Leon’s outlook on life and his career begin to change.

Luc Besson’s Leon The Professional is a visually beautiful and yet thrillingly stylish take on violence is one of only 90’s era films that truly pulls it off and still till this day stands alone as one of the only films that touches on taboo topics. Leon the Professional has a brilliantly unique way of portraying New York in a light of; corruption, drugs, crime, broken home and violence and still Besson’s visual style doesn’t portray New York into a dark melancholic gritty look but rather a sunny heat wave of 1994. It’s a fantastic combination of the hotter the weather the more violence we are subjected to. The dark side to Leon The Professional is the plagued presumption that Besson put a twelve year old girl in an action film who falls in love with a hitman with a sharply dressed drug addict villain. All the ethical alarms are ringing here but in all honestly if Mathilda was older the film would never have changed so there wouldn’t much point in making her older.

"No Women, No kids, That's The Rules."
The really dark side of The Professional is the constant stigma of Leon falling in love with Mathilda. In my opinion I believe that Mathilda did fall in love with Leon in the conventional way of man and women but Leon loved her as a daughter and not in any sexual way. The theory of Sigmund Freud that every daughter wants to be with a man like their father plays a role in Leon The Professional. Leon fell in love with Mathilda because she showed him a life that he never lived before and her free spirit attitude to life changed him from a ruthless assassin to a protecting father. In the deleted scenes you get a better understanding of the relationship having more interactions and talking about the love interest between Leon and Mathilda rather than just hinting and leaving it to the imaginations of the audience which more obviously more vivid. These deleted scenes show how Leon played the role as a father figure, how Mathilda shadowed Leon on his contract hits and explicitly demonstrating how to kill someone.  Leon The Professional stands alone as a very unique drama and possibly the only action film that would ever dare to dwell into this topic.

Deleted Scene of Mathilda Shadowing Leon