This Week in Cinema: February 02-08, 2014

silent light

Religion and sex really don’t mix…

The trend of not watching much continues,

Stellet Licht (Silent Light, 2007, Carlos Reygadas, France/Germany/Mexico/Netherlands) ***

Stellet Licht is a rich film visually and I appreciated that Carlos Reygadas allowed his story the time it needed to unfold. The idea of a decision being so difficult that one can’t make it is handled in deft fashion. The acting, from non-actors mind you, is up to the task of keeping pace with the direction. The film is beautiful to look at, and the visuals help the story immensely. The ending is where I take umbrage with the film as it’s too much a cop out. It removes the decision, then reintroduces it when the thematic weight of the decision has already been lifted from the film. Up until the end Stellet Licht is a great film, but that ending does knock it down a few pegs.

Down Terrace (2009, Ben Wheatley, United Kingdom) ***

An odd movie that is equal parts charming and vile. Watching this collection of characters kill, plot, and scheme while worrying about such matters as what colors to paint the day room made for a unique viewing experience. Ben Wheatley manages to find the ground between absurd and dangerously believable. This isn’t The Sopranos, these are characters who are bound to mess everything up. Yet, they are extremely dangerous, and they yearn for the humanity they lack which in turn leads them down paths that are mostly precarious. Down Terrace is like a fragile vase, all the pieces are in place but it gives the distinct impression that one false move and it could crack apart at the seems.

Wrap-Up:

A pair of good movies that are very different but very close in quality. Of the two I slightly preferred Stellet Licht more and that’s why it takes home movie of the week honors. Until next week, watch more movies!

Cheers,
Bill Thompson

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