|Trintignant as Georges.|
Directed by Michael Haneke
Produced by Margaret Menegoz
Written by Michael Haneke
Starring Jean-Louis Trintignant, Emmanuelle Riva, and Isabelle Huppert
When his wife Anne (Riva) suffers a stroke, Georges (Trintignant) must adapt to her new behavior and the challenges of caring for her in their home.
At long last, Haneke is an Oscar nominee, and it could't be more deserved. Not only is this one of 2012's best films, but it also boasts two outstanding performances by the leading French veterans. There's a lot to be said for subtly on screen, which I'm more drawn towards than flashy performances anyway. In this case, Trintignant and Riva strip away any artifice, giving us these two characters as lived-in, authentic people. They are fully committed to their characters, and it shows in the pain on their faces, in the pain they feel just trying to go on with their daily routine. As hard as it may be, Anne must go on for Georges, and Georges must take care of her in order to keep her with him a little longer. Apart from Haneke's superb direction and fine screenplay, these two actors are the key to making this film work. In addition, the quiet atmosphere of Haneke's films is all the more effective in this devastating masterwork, as we watch this elderly couple try to overcome this challenge together. The film takes it time, but it's worth the wait if you can stick with it. A triumph on all accounts, this is one you should seek out.
Oscar Tally: Nominations for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Foreign Language Film
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
|Chastain as Maya.|
Directed by Kathryn Bigelow
Produced by Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, and Megan Ellison
Written by Mark Boal
Starring Jessica Chastain, Jason Clarke, James Gandolfini, Frank Grillo, Mark Strong, Edgar Ramirez, Stephen Dillane, Joel Edgerton, Harold Perrineau, Mark Duplass, Jennifer Ehle, Chris Pratt, and Kyle Chandler
Maya (Chastain), a CIA operative, leads the manhunt to track down the wanted terrorist Osama bin Laden, who was killed by Navy SEALs in 2011.
This highly anticipated film is a very direct piece of information, which manages to entertain and educate. Bigelow gives it to us straight, and never loses focus on the task at hand. Every scene advances the plot, and the actors deliver simple, straightforward portrayals of real people. On a first glance, Chastain might not have much to do, but it's her character's dedication to her job that drives Maya to succeed. This she (Chastain) achieves whenever she's on screen. It might be a minimal performance, but that doesn't mean she should be punished for portraying Maya that way. Though we never really get much insight into her, the film isn't strictly about her. The bin Laden manhunt is front and center, and Chastain and company give great performances in guiding us through these series of events. Also, the film, thankfully, knows when to end. It gets in and gets out, without compromising the story or its importance. I've no idea if it's too soon for this film to be made, but I have a feeling time will look kindly on this great cinematic achievement.
Oscar Tally: Nominations for Best Picture, Best Actress, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, and Best Sound Editing