|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
Now that I've seen a few of Haneke's films, I can see how his particular style of film-making would lend itself very well to a story like Amour. I am really looking forward to that movie.ReplyDelete
I'll probably see Zero Dark Thirty, too -- possibly as a "history curriculum" movie with my teens. I've been seeing widely mixed reactions to this film, both in the material presented and the execution. I think it's probably largely because, as you said, it may be too soon. But if it gets people thinking and talking about the events of the past 11 years, in a more thoughtful and critical way, that's a good thing, right?
Great! Can't wait to hear what you think of them.Delete
Yeah, I agree that's a good thing. And it's impressive that they were able to make it so entertaining too. It may spark conversation, but it's also quite riveting. Props to Bigelow and Boal for that.
Haneke is one of my favorite directors...EVER, so I'm awaiting Amour with baited breath!ReplyDelete
I've only seen 7 of Haneke's films, but I'm a big fan. Hope you like it!Delete
I wasn't fond of ZD30, I would only nominate it for ensemble for Ehle, Gandolfini and Strong.ReplyDelete
I still have to see Amour, saw The Impossible last night so first I need to recover from that one :)
Great call on the supporting cast. Personally, I wouldn't nominate any of the actors, but I thought they did a fine job.Delete
Ahh! The Impossible wrecked me! Take your time. :)
Yeah I wouldn't nominate them separately either, but as an ensemble they really did a terrific job. Someone should finally give Ehle a lead role somewhere.Delete
That would be awesome. She always reminds me of a younger Meryl Streep.Delete
I haven't seen either of these. No desire to see ZD30, but Amour is something I want to check it. It really reminds me of Away from Her though. Hopefully they aren't as similar as I expect them to be.ReplyDelete
Hmm... I suppose they are comparable, but I prefer Amour by a longshot.Delete
I just learned that Amour will be playing soon in my local theater so hopefully I'd get to see it soon. I'm impressed by ZDT, I'm pulling for Chastain for Best Actress. She continues to wow me, but I think this is her best performance yet.ReplyDelete
Yeah, I'd probably call this her best performance too, but she gave a lot of great supporting ones in 2011. A tough choice, for me.Delete