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On Watching "Deep" Movies

So this weekend I caught up on 2 Oscar noms I'd missed, "Atonement" and "No Country for Old Men" (the winner). Both were incredible in very different ways. And... both made me feel pretty stupid as a movie viewer.

Does anyone besides me tend to miss some of the fundamental depths while just trying to take in a movie? Honestly, for both, once I watched the "making of" specials on the DVD, I felt I'd missed so much I must be some sort of left-brained doofus. For "Atonement," did I notice that the rooms they used to film went from light to dark once the "bad event" happened? Nope. Did I understand that the whole movie, including the behavior of the characters, was meant to be through the filter of Emily's memories? That Robbie was idealized and heroic because that was how she remembered him in her guilt? Nope. Well, at least I "got" the nonlinear story telling. And I knew the theme of the movie was unthinking betrayal and... "atonement". Wot!

For "No Country" I think what I couldn't articulate was why Javier Bardem's character (Anton) kept me on the edge of my seat in every scene. Well, as the special told me, it was because Javier was so brilliant at projecting such ambivalence about his intentions. Yes, he was pure evil, but evil operating under an internal code the audience was not privvy to. His lack of backstory was purposeful. His behavior was consistent in retrospect; we just couldn't predict it along the way.

I don't know, I guess all these years being an engineer have wiped out whatever "artsy" critical analysis skills I might have had. Not to say I don't enjoy the movies anyway, but... I've seen amazing critical analysis in fandom and I'm always equally blown away. I know how to help air traffic controllers land more airplanes at busy airports, though. :)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
aelfgyfu_mead
Apr. 16th, 2008 12:07 pm (UTC)
I don't think you're supposed to catch everything, at least not on a single viewing; the lighting effects set or intensify the mood, and they aren't necessarily supposed to work at a conscious level. They're more effective if they don't!

I haven't seen either movie, honestly, but I read Atonement. It's a great book, but I found it too depressing to want to go through it again as a movie!
astrumporta
Apr. 16th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
I'm sure you're right. I'm amazed at what the directors et al think about to evoke all those unconscious reactions, though. Atonement was quite sad and apparently true to the book. I feel the same way about The Kite Runner. The book was too disturbing for me to want to watch the movie!
aurora_novarum
Apr. 16th, 2008 03:39 pm (UTC)
I know how to help air traffic controllers land more airplanes at busy airports, though. :)

A much more practical skill and life-saving skill.
astrumporta
Apr. 16th, 2008 03:58 pm (UTC)
Heh, let's hope. :)
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )