Olly Writes

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A Film Odyssey

It’s been a little while since I last wrote about the films I’ve been renting but that’s not meant to imply that I haven’t been spending the odd evening sat infront of a different screen to the one that greets me now.

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I fell in love with the film Interstellar from the moment I first saw it in the cinema last year. As I’ve read more and more about this film on the internet since, I’ve noticed comments from a number of sources hailing it as an homage to the classic 2001: A Space Odyssey.

…A film which I had never previously seen!

So, it became an instant high priority on my rental list without any shadow of a doubt.

I guess the first thing that struck me about this film was that it was dated. I mean, it was made in 1968. I cannot think of a recent occasion where I’ve watched a film that predates the 1980s. Getting over that, I began to enjoy and appreciate this creation from Stanley Kubrick.

It was never going to compete with any modern film for its special effects but there were a number of occasions throughout the film where I had to question how the heck they were filming these sequences, many years before CGI… And I could not come up with an answer.

Another note of interest was that it appears to have inspired at least three separate episodes of The Simpsons. Until then, I had no idea of what these instances were based upon.

2001: A Space Odyssey impressed me to the point that I had to watch it a second time to attempt a better understanding of what’s actually going on. It’s a film free of narration, unlike so many modern films. I guess that was part of Kubrick’s talent; allowing the screen to tell the story without spelling it out for people not paying attention at the back of the class. I vaguely remember watching Eyes Wide Shut (another Kubrick classic) a few years ago and I think that was a similar affair.

In the end, the music and audio quality may not have survived with the decades that have passed but it’s a must-watch for any science-fiction fan who appreciates the work of a master director.

A Most Wanted Man will undoubtedly earn eternal acclaim as the final film to be released in the abrupt lifetime of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

It casually caught my eye in a couple of trailers at the cinema last year but there wasn’t enough to deter me personally from watching other films at the same time. I’d read some fairly positive reviews of it since its release and was keen to be able to take a look for myself as part of my LoveFilm subscription.

Until I came to watch the extras after my initial viewing of this movie, I had no idea it was based upon a novel of the same name, written by a former spy who was once based in Hamburg, where this story is also set.

This isn’t the kind of ‘guns-blazing, high speed Police chase‘ affair that many might expect from any other film with a similar heading. Neither is Hoffman’s character the wanted man in question. Yet he maintains the focus of this plot, in a performance on-screen that somehow coerces the camera and viewer in to maintaining full attention. He has a presence in this film that stands apart from every other character.

There are mixed reviews online but I thoroughly enjoyed following Hoffman’s character throughout this one. Right up until the ending, which is quite extraordinary in itself. I only question whether natives to Hamburg typically speak perfect English accented with German or, whether that was done here so that our eyes were not deterred from the events on screen…

Thanks for reading another of my vague and slightly obscure film reviews! I’ll have a new one for you tomorrow!

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