As much as I have always loved Matthew McConaughey I was kind of subconsciously putting this one off because everyone kept telling me it was oh so sad and I would oh so definitely cry. But then he went and got that pesky little Oscar for it and I was regretting not having seen it in cinema yet (any excuse for cinema is a good excuse in my books – I would live inside a cinema if I could).
So well I watched it last week, and he is so bloody good and so bloody deserved that Oscar.
In my humble non-professional opinion a good actor is one who can play totally different roles and be excellent at all of them (no, Keanu Reeves in Speed vs. Keanu Reeves in Matrix definitely does not count because he is totally crap in both), an actor who might be extremely good looking but not afraid to get ugly (think Charlize Theron in Monster for example), an actor who plays a part so well that he convinces you to hate him in it though you really love him (think Michael Fassbender in Fish Tank).
And Matthew McConaughey has done all of the above over and over with ease. Think “How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days” vs. ” Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The Next Generation“. Think “A Time to Kill” vs. “Mud“. Think “Magic Mike vs. “The Lincoln Lawyer” and think “The Wedding Planner” vs. “Dallas Buyers Club“. You get my drift.
Now this was a movie I was super keen to see – from my beloved Michael Fassbender to the formidable Chiwetel Ejiofor (who I saw live on stage last year at the Young Vic theatre in London in the wonderful “A Season in the Congo”) to big guns like Brad Pitt and the marmite Benedict Cumberbatch (that I never really liked but who is growing on me since he did that poetic reading of R Kelly on the Jimmy Kimmel show).
Another movie based on a true story – this movie is based on the incredible true story of Solomon Northup, a free man from New York in pre Civil War America who was tricked and abducted into being sold as a slave to the deep south where he spent 12 years as a slave before a chance encounter with a wonderful Canadian travelling carpenter helps him get his freedom back.
Plot summary ccording to IMDB: “In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty (personified by a malevolent slave owner, portrayed by Michael Fassbender), as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist (Brad Pitt) will forever alter his life.”
Chiwetel Ejiofor was hugely impressive when I saw him on stage in London and he continues to impress here, my darling Fassbender continues his pattern of playing dark, troubled and intensely unlikable characters in his role as the cruel slave owner, Brad Pitt plays a lame guest appearance where he is the brilliant saviour with the best part of his role being his beautifully trimmed beard – but hey he did produce the movie so I guess he’s allowed that? Over the years I have developed a huge admiration for the work of director Steve McQueen who tackles subjects other people fear to touch and he does so without judgement and with a sharp eye for detail and honest potrayal.
Is the movie gruesome and too graphic? No, personally I didn’t think so. Is the casting good? Excellent. Is it convincing? I’m not sure I know enough about this period in history to be able to judge this, but I’d like to think so. Is it worth the hype? Not too sure it is, but it is definitely a movie everyone needs to go see.
Last week I went to the cinema with the boy to watch the movie American Hustle with Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Bradley Cooper and Jeremy Renner. To be honest I wasn’t really expecting much, I thought it would be a nicely entertaining action/drama set in the late 70’s making for awesome hair and costumes…so why not? AND – I was very pleasantly surprised actually.
Apparently the movie is based on a true story and is the fictionalised telling of the Abscam (short for Arab scam) scandal of the late 1970s and early 1980s, an FBI operation that began as an investigation of trafficking in stolen property, but was later expanded to include political corruption.
The casting on this movie is absolutely brilliant though – every character from the very likable Mayor Carime Polito played by Jeremy Renner to the annoying and unlikable richie DiMaso played by Bradley Cooper are perfect in each of their roles. Jennifer Lawrence was however the absolute star of the movie for me and absolutely amazing as Roslyn Rosenfeld the wife of Christian’s Bale’s Irving Rosenfeld. Costume-wise no one cam beat the Amy Adam’s character with her perfectly blown out big 70’s style hair, extra large sunglasses and deep plunging sequin jumpsuits…did make me wish I could wear that in my daily life, but then i do live in Camden so perhaps I totally could? I bet no one here would even notice to be fair?
Rosalyn to her son: Life is ridiculous. And you know that I would never say anything bad about your father in front of you, but your father is a sick son-of-a bitch.
Son: Daddy’s a sick son-of-a-bitch?
Rosalyn: Don’t repeat that… but yes.