|Jim Broadbent and Cillian Murphy|
By Morris Dean
On four consecutive days recently, my wife and I watched four films from the immediately preceding four consecutive years, all deserving to be recommended here. I had read no reviews and had little to go on besides what I indicate about each below. You—I hope you'll benefit from the following:
2009: Perrier's Bounty (directed by Ian Fitzgibbon): Gangsters with laughs and love...and dogs. Wikipedia, IMDb.
My wife found this one by browsing Netflix's library of instantly downloadable movies. It recommended itself to her because of its cast, which I also approved from numerous other movies: Gabriel Byrne, Cillian Murphy, Brendan Coyle, Jim Broadbent, and Brendan Gleeson.
She had never liked Cillian Murphy, however, and she had to make an excuse for him: "Maybe I can stand him in a comedy." We both felt in the mood for some fun; Perrier's Bounty provided it, plus the thrill you have at the end of a very well-wrought piece of cinematic work.
Remember the following brief description from IMDb when you read about Brighton Rock, for without the identifying details of name and number of fugitives [and Dublin rather than Brighton], it could apply to that movie as well:
A [Dublin] gangster named Perrier looks to exact his revenge on a trio of fugitives responsible for the accidental death of one of his cronies.How utterly that description fails to address the movie's adroit plotting! No hint of its father character (Broadbent) hell-bent on remaining awake because he has dreamed that The Reaper (Byrne in voice-over) came to him with the announcement that the next time he slept he would die. No mention of the girl next door, for whom the son (Murphy) finally acknowledges a longstanding devotion. No homage to the movie's devoted dog owners (including Coyle) whose dogs are shot by Perrier (Gleeson) and thereby given strong motivation to be handy on the spot when vengeance needs to be wreaked....
2010: Brighton Rock (directed by Rowan Joffé): Gansters totally noir, with unrequited love. Wikipedia, IMDB.
My wife borrowed the DVD for this one from our local public library. The only thing about it (besides her wanting to see it) that recommended it to me was that Helen Mirren and John Hurt were in it. Plus, the title sounded vaguely familiar....
Yes, it turned out to be the second adaptation of the 1938 Graham Greene novel. I have not read the book but have read others by Greene, and have read enough about Greene to know that his Catholicism often worked its way into his fiction—as it very much does in this movie. (Note: Joffé did not want to remake the 1947 film, but fully intended to make a fresh adaptation from the novel, setting his movie in 1964, during riots of the "Mods and Rockers.")
|Three rockers on the Chelsea Bridge|
|Andrea Riseborough and Sam Riley|
According to Director Joffé (interviewed in the bonus material), and perhaps also according to Greene's novel, Pinkie and Rose (Andrea Riseborough) come to love each other. Rose's love for Pinkie is manifest, but Pinkie's for Rose is not in evidence, even though Riley's performance is otherwise riveting. (And so is Riseborough's, who is almost twice the age of Rose.) Pinkie is consistently hard and manipulative. If he loves Rose, then it must require her faithful Catholic eyes to see it.
2011: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (directed by Lasse Hallström): Love with laughter. Wikipedia, IMDb.
This one finally came up on my library "hold" list. We had seen a preview of it and it looked to be very good. Besides, it had Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt (as well as Kristin Scott Thomas). What could be wrong with it? In a word: nothing.
2012: The Impossible (directed by Juan Antonio Bayona): Family love and nothing funny. Wikipedia, IMDb.
This one, too, finally came up on my library "hold" list, although we hadn't seen a preview. But it did have Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor....
My vote for an actor who can give the most convincing portrayal of absolute, doting love is Naomi Watts—the way she looks at McGregor in this film!, which is based on María Belón's family's real experience of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. By what many would pronounce a miracle, all five members of the family survived against terrifying odds. This cinematic telling is fascinating and affecting.
According to Wikipedia:
Watts was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress–Motion Picture Drama, and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role. The tsunami was recreated with a mixture of digital effects and real water surges using miniatures that were destroyed by a huge wave created in a water tank in Spain. Bayona committed to working with real water, rather than a computer generated wave, because he wanted the story to be authentic. This meant actors Naomi Watts and Tom Holland [who plays the oldest of the couple's three sons] spent five weeks filming physically and psychologically demanding scenes in a massive water tank....Overall, I would rank the movies:
- Perrier's Bounty
- Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
- The Impossible
- Brighton Rock
If you require laughs: Perrier's Bounty and Salmon Fishing in the Yemen.
If you're addicted to gangster movies: Perrier's Bounty and Brighton Rock.
If you love romantic love stories: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and Perrier's Bounty. Brighton Rock, possibly, if you don't mind the love to be mostly one-way.
If you love family love and love of other people in distress: The Impossible.
If you trust movies that involve faith: Brighton Rock (Catholicism), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (including both faith in science and faith that someone up there is looking out for you), and The Impossible (faith that personal redemption will come through a commitment to taking care of one another).
If you are a fan of Ewan McGregor: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and The Impossible.
Copyright © 2013 by Morris Dean