Re: RARA-AVIS: 3 recent noir movies

From: Steve Novak (
Date: 25 Feb 2008

Of course some lofty minded rara-avian is going to object to the NYTimes and the Los Angeles Times as debilitating leftists rags and I should have searched longer for reviews in WSJ or other more adequate journos
(NRO?)...but here it is anyway...

On 2/24/08 7:26 PM, "Dave Zeltserman" <> wrote:

> 13 Tzameti--this was excellent. The basic plot--a young guy desperate
> for money jumps at an opportunity for riches by stealing an
> invitation for a secret gathering. While I expected something
> sinister + deadly at the gathering, I didn't expect anything as
> horrific as what was waiting for him. The sense of dread created in
> this movie was palpable. Highly recommend it.
> ****to this the Los Angeles Times said:
> Every frame of the film reveals Babluani's confidence and sound judgment.
> Instead of staging the film's initial sequence like a conventional thriller,
> Babluani evokes a somber, even leisurely mood, suggesting the plight of
> Sebastien, an intelligent young man all too aware of his meager prospects in
> life. This mood extends all the way into that rural resort, abruptly giving
> way to shocking intensity.
> At times Babluani recalls the austerity, the closely observed fascination with
> secretive ritual, of Robert Bresson, yet he expresses these qualities ‹ in
> ravishing black-and-white CinemaScope ‹ with a poetic cinematic grace that is
> all his own. As an actor, Georges Babluani possesses the same resources, with
> a special understanding of the effect of emotional reserves held in check.
> Although it's likely too stark for everyone, "13 Tzameti" offers a
> mind-blowing experience for anyone willing to go along for the ride.
> ...and therefore I Netflixed it...we¹ll see...
> In Bruges--very good noirish hit man movie with fine performances by
> both Colin Farrell and Brendan Gleason, and some terrific dialogue.
> Farrell's performance at first seems overmannered, but once you
> understand what's going on it's really pitch perfect.
> *****to this the NYTimes said:
> ³In Bruges² is itself a goof, both diverting and forgettable. Despite the
> guns, genre posturing and self-consciously naughty shocks (jokes about racist
> dwarfs and fat Americans) it¹s also unmistakably sincere. The writing sounds
> like the handiwork of a very clever young filmmaking student with a fondness
> for Sartre and Tarantino, though here the 30-something Mr. McDonagh only
> name-drops Nicolas Roeg and ³Touch of Evil.² These are solid allusions,
> certainly, yet like that 15th-century painting of the unfortunate prisoner
> being flayed alive ‹ which suggests that Mr. McDonagh means to say something
> about the spectacle of violence ‹ they don¹t add up to anything. He talks a
> blue streak beautifully, but he has yet to find the nuance and poetry that
> make his red images signify with commensurate sizzle and pop.
> nonetheless I Netflixed it...we¹ll see...


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