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Non-Review Review: Rocketman

As has been noted, the iconic Elton John song that inspired the film is titled Rocket Man, while the film itself is simply Rocketman.

The missing space is an intriguing stylistic choice, given that the film is obviously designed to evoke Elton John’s beloved contemplative ballad about space-age truckers. What purpose does the omission of that space serve? What is gained by contracting the song to create a single-word title for the biographical feature film. Having watched the film, it feels like the missing space might have been lost as an inadvertent consequence of a thorough find-and-delete of anything resembling subtext from the screenplay.

Fancy, that.

To be clear, this isn’t entirely a flaw with Rocketman. Musicals are fundamentally designed to render subtext as supratext, to literalise and articulate the themes and ideas and emotions underscoring a character or plot. By their nature, musicals feature characters very theatrically expressing their innermost feelings and desires directly to the audience through the medium of song and dance. Subtlety is not necessary in this context, and could even become something of a hindrance. A musical – especially a jukebox musical like this – is narrative as stadium rock.

The musical sequences in Rocketman capture this beautifully, and are the film’s strongest attribute. The movie just has trouble turning the volume down in the scenes between those numbers.

Key details.

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Non-Review Review: The Village

I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by revealing there’s a twist in M. Night Shyamalan’s The Village. In fact, the only shocking twist in a Shyamalan film would be if there was no twist. I have to admit that even I was a little surprised when I guessed the twist about twenty minutes into this film. And I was sadly disappointed that there really wasn’t anything else on screen to hold my interest.

Village people...

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Non-Review Review: The Siege

The Siege has the benefit of becoming a lot more relevent in the past couple of years. Exploring the aftermath of a series of terrorist atrocities on New York City by Islamic extremists, the film isn’t exact a subtle exploration of the relationship between liberty and security – instead preferring to offer two-dimensional strawmen instead of characters or legitimate viewpoints. Still, despite its heavy-handedness, it does have some interesting insights into the world after it has been shaken to its core.

Washington under Siege...

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Is Anton Chigurh an Angel?

Yes, you read the title right. Is Anton Chigurh, the sociopathic hitman from No Country For Old Men who kills his victims an instrument used to cull cattle, an instrument of divine will? I stumbled across an interesting argument on-line which proposed that McCarthy (who is – apparently – staunchly conservative) wrote the character as an angel who was sent down to purge all those connected in anyway with the money from the drug trade – bringing on the old-school biblical wrath which you don’t see too often these days. Talk about executing your purpose with zeal.

Everytime Chigurh kills somebody, an angel gets its wings. It's pretty crowded up there, too.

Everytime Chigurh kills somebody, an angel gets its wings. It's pretty crowded up there, too.

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What a Basterdly Ending…

Alright, since the entire point of this post is spoilers, consider yourselves duly warned. I don’t like spoiling films, but I also really think that there is a lot of discussion to be had about the end of Inglourious Basterds. Only read on if you have seen the film, or know you won’t. Because there’s no going back. Seriously. It’s something you should really see for yourself before you make up your mind on it. Anyway, those disclaimers out of the way, here we go…

I've got an axe to grind...

Shoshanna's got an axe to grind...

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