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Non-Review: Reported Missing (Die Vermissten)

This film was seen as part of the Jameson Dublin International Film Festival 2013.

Die Vermissten feels almost like a Clint Eastwood film by the way of David Lynch. If that sounds like a pretty strange combination, it really is. When his 16-year-old daughter disappears, divorcee Lothar is initially reluctant to investigate. He tries to convince his ex-wife that she’ll turn up, while trying to explain to his new girlfriend that he has a daughter. Eventually determining to conduct his own inquiries into the disappearance of his child, Lothar discovers that the incident isn’t quite isolated, and that there’s something much larger going on here.

Missing vital evidence...

Missing vital evidence…

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Non-Review Review: Thunderbolt & Lightfoot

I think that Thunderbolt & Lightfoot might be my favourite Michael Cimino film. Don’t get me wrong, of course. I acknowledge and appreciate the director’s work on The Deer Hunter, but it’s not a film I return to on a regular basis. It’s a thoughtful and powerful commentary on the Vietnam War, but it isn’t among my favourite explorations of that particular conflict. On the other hand, while it still has its own serious flaws, Thunderbolt & Lightfoot has a much lighter touch. It’s a film that offers a great deal of depth beneath a relatively accessible surface layer, serving as an exploration of seventies America, but one with significant hidden depths. However, despite his sophisticated work here, Cimino’s directorial début is not inaccessible and works quite well as a hybrid of the “road” and the “heist”movie genres, albeit with a great deal happening beneath the surface.

The road to nowhere?

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Pointing Eastwood: Clint Eastwood’s Moral Compass…

Clint Eastwood is a fascinating director. It’s hard to imagine, watching those early Spaghetti Westerns, that the badass cowboy would emerge as one of the great American directors. To be honest, while he wasn’t the first major actor to work behind the camera, I think that Eastwood really paved the way for established actors being taken seriously as directors. I’ve always been somewhat fascinated by Eastwood’s work, even when it isn’t necessarily completely satisfying as a viewing experience. I’ve still found something interesting and compelling in most of his films, even if they aren’t brilliant in and of themselves. I think that Eastwood manages a thematic consistency that’s very rare these days, and it’s possible to see a lot of the director’s moral philosophy in his work.

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Non-Review Review: J. Edgar

I’ll concede that I’m surprised how much I liked J. Edgar. Acknowledging that I’ve been a lot fonder of Clint Eastwood’s more recent output than most, and accepting that this film (like many of his recent films) has considerable flaws, I found it a fascinating examination of twentieth century America, explored through the lens of one character’s life. While it isn’t nearly objective enough (and is far too sensationalist) to be considered a truly effective account of the life of one John Edgar Hoover, it does offer a thoughtful meditation on the relationship between old and young, the corruption of moral responsibility and the lingering doubt that maybe our generation’s elders have somehow disappointed us. It’s in these reflective moments that Eastwood is at his strongest, hitting on themes the director knows especially well. Unfortunately, it is undermined by its handling of the famed FBI director’s personal and sexual life, if only because it completely lacks subtlety and nuance.

There's a lot on the line...

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Non-Review Review: For a Few Dollars More

Early in the movie, our anonymous bounty hunter, Blondie or The Man With No Name or whatever you want to call him, wanders into a tavern looking for his target. Identifying the bandit gambling at a table, inches from an impotent sheriff, the hunter wanders over to his mark. He silently grabs the cards and starts counting them out. The hardened criminal stares up silently, and he plays along. The game is poker. The two men settle their hands and trade their cards. The villain lays out his cards on the table. It looks good, and then the stranger reveals his cards. Of course, his hand is better. The gambler at the table looks up to this drifter who has so silently intruded on his game. Apparently behind the audience, he asks what the stakes were. As it always is in stories like this, “Your life.”

You know how it ends.

Sometimes you have to take the Good with the Bad...

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