Today was the first day I didn’t have to get up terribly early, and that extra 45 minutes of sleep was much appreciated.
My day started off with a screening of a film that will be on the top of my list – SPOTLIGHT, directed by Tom McCarthy. This is a newsroom procedural of the Boston Globe uncovering the Catholic Church scandal in 2001. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber, this film has a great script, tight editing and at times plays like a thriller. The material is certainly chilling – especially when one character states that when it comes to priests and pedophilia, it’s not just a few bad apples, it’s “a recognizable psychiatric phenomenon.” I think it could go the distance for numerous nominations this season.
VICTORIA, directed by Sebastian Schipper, was next on my list. This 2+ hour film was done in one long, mobile take. It’s the story of a young woman who gets caught up with a group of guys after leaving a nightclub in Berlin. She’s romantically interested in one of the guys, but the gang has a mission that night…and she ends up getting tangled up in a bank robbery. Though the last 40 minutes are quite exhilarating, it takes a long time to get moving. Because it’s one shot, we would never buy the protagonist’s motivations to join the guys on their heist if we didn’t have time for her to form a connection. Thus we are forced to watch the set-up of their relationship in what would normally be trimmed down to 15 -20 minutes (instead it takes more than an hour – some of which is rather tedious). The film is technically incredible and the performances are wonderful too…I just felt it went on too long – but I understand that’s part of the point.
JAMES WHITE, directed by Josh Mond, was my final film of the day. Cynthia Nixon and Christopher Abbott both give incredible performances in this film about a walking powder keg who is taking care of his sick mother. Abbott plays James – a hot-headed, partying slacker with bursts of violence, and the performance is riveting. The raw feel of the film truly puts us in the heart of New York without ever feeling like a triptych, and there are a couple powerful moments between mother and son which really cemented Josh Mond as a filmmaker to watch. The director and cast were present for a Q&A, and Nixon was asked about her preparation for the part. She spoke eloquently of having lost her mother to Cancer during the same year of shooting the film and of losing two close friends to AIDS in the 90’s…and how she was able to draw upon those bedside experiences to prepare for the role.
Only one more day!
Thanks for reading,