On this page I have film reviews or other film-related comments, which I will blog before they become Sprint Reviews on the s2c database. I would love to hear any comments you might have.
There is an abundance of love found in this wonderful, sublime film. In fact, there is only one undesirable character and only one major incident, which results in adding some suspense to the natural flow of events. Its like one of those Irish Ballads that brings a tear to the eye. We even hear a ballad sung at a meal served at a mission for the Irish homeless in Brooklyn. It comes at a time when Eilis (Saoirse Ronan) is trying hard to overcome her homesickness; not much help there. If this Irish Ballad doesn't move you then you should begin moving to the nearest exit.
Not much original is happening. What makes this an excellent time spent at the movies and a refreshing experience these days, is the acting, writing, and directing. Ronan is obviously at home in the role of a young lady leaving post-war Ireland in search of new opportunities across the pond. Her older sister, Rose (Fiona Glascott), is the one who is intent on gifting Eilis this life-changing opportunity. We find out later in the story why. To avoid the copious pitfalls awaiting an innocent, young immigrant in 1952, Eilis is safely guided by more worldly, earth angels: Father Flood (Jim Broadbent), her ship berth-mate (Eva Birthistle), her supervisor at work (Jessica Paré) and Mrs. Keogh (Julie Walters) her boarding-house landlady.
Her luck dances on when she meets Tony (Emory Cohen) at the local Irish dance hall. He is Italian, but likes Irish girls. He also loves the Dodgers, affectionately nicknamed the "Bums," before breaking all of Brooklyn's hearts when leaving Ebbets Field for Los Angeles in 1957. Hopefully for Tony, Eilis won't break his heart when returning to Ireland after an untimely turn of events. There she meets Jim Farrell (Domnhall Gleeson) and the suspense begins. Who's heart will she break? Remember, it is an Irish Ballad, so someone's heart has to be broken.
Quentin Tarantino delivers another engaging, black comedy screenplay, this time a Western set in Wyoming during a blizzard. It takes place all in one long, hellish day. The film is almost 3 hours in length, but it felt like half the time. I was so focused on the dialogue, which is the result of some, or all of the main characters, being confined in two spaces; first the inside of a stagecoach, then later in Minnie's Haberdashery, a stagecoach roadhouse in the middle of nowhere on the way to the town of Red Rock. Because two of the characters are bounty hunters, Major Warren (Samuel L. Jackson) and John Ruth (Kurt Russell), the dread of something awful going wrong lingers in almost every scene. John Ruth is nicknamed the Hangman because he has the reputation of delivering his bounty alive to be hanged, while Major Warren usually kills his bounty because it is easier to deliver. This is their job and they are intent on drawing their paycheck no matter who gets in their way.
I was reminded of RESERVOIR DOGS, THE PETRIFIED FOREST, STAGECOACH and DAY OF THE OUTLAW, all excellent films in comparison. Michael Madsen and Tim Roth, who were both in DOGS, reappear along with other Tarantino regulars, Jackson, James Parks and Zoë Bell. Tim Roth plays the polite, European character usually played so well by Christoph Waltz. Jennifer Jason Leigh as John Roth's bounty donates her face to be bloodied in many violent, Tarantino-esque, tongue-in-cheek ways. Bruce Dern, still looking as confused as he did in NEBRASKA, does fine work as the confederate General stuck in the wrong place at the wrong time. The snowy, mountain winter scenes are beautifully photographed by Robert Richardson in and around Telluride, Colorado. The wonderful Ennio Morricone soundtrack, sometimes sounding like Bernard Herrmann, adds the final ingredient for this latest tasty Quentin Tarantino gem, which rewards all of his fans for the long wait and mega-hype usually surrounding his films.
A note on the viewing experience. I tried to see the 70mm film version during the first week when it was released exclusively nationwide, called The Roadshow. When I arrived 30 minutes before the show, I found out there was already a line forming one hour in advance, so I was one of the last in line. I got a refund planning to return at a more convenient time. In retrospect, I'm sorry I missed out on seeing the 70mm film print, but not sorry to have missed the crowds. All exclusive performances were sold out. Ironically, when I went today, only 8 people were in the theatre. And, ironically instead of paying the exclusive ticket price of $14.99, I paid only $6.99, 8 dollars less. Eight was my lucky number today.