I’ve been a champion of the complexity of the child mind for a long time, glad to see France agrees with me!
Only two movies this week, but one of them is darn great,
Reign Of Fire (2002, Rob Bowman, Ireland/United Kingdom/United States Of America) **
Pretty great idea is ruined by a terrible script and a plot with oodles and oodles of holes in it. The characters talk in nothing but prophetic speeches, and somehow despite the world being over they have an endless supply of ammo, fuel, and enough food to feed a horse but not the people in the colony. The plot is pretty stupid, it shouldn’t be hard to come up with a cool tale of dragons taking over the world but I’ll be damned if Reign Of Fire doesn’t drop the ball. The dragons do look cool though, I’ll give the film that much.
Ponette (1996, Jacques Doillon, France) ***1/2
This is the second time I’m trying to write about Ponette. My first capsule review was very confusing, but in a way it was fitting because the children in Ponette are confusing, understanding, and yet completely logical. If that didn’t make sense to you then chances are that you don’t have kids. Jacques Doillon’s film understands kids completely and most importantly it allows them to be kids. They are confusing creatures who understand more than adults ever give them credit for. Kids have their own way of looking at the world and most of the time they are able to handle life just fine by working out problems their way. Kids are amazing, they are extremely complex, and the way they look at and process the world around them is a wonder to behold. Ponette understands the wonder of being a child and the complex being that is a human child. Some great performances and a natural camera capture the beauty of the child mind in all its glory and help to make Ponette a truly great film.
It’s kind of sad that Ponette fell on a week where I watched only one other movie. Ponette is easily the movie of the week, but against something as lackluster as Reign Of Fire it’s a hollow victory. Don’t let the lack of competition fool you, Ponette is good enough to be movie of the week in just about any week. Until next week, watch more movies!