SEX AND (A HISTORY OF) VIOLENCE: EASTERN PROMISES & THE BRAVE ONE
What the hell is wrong
with me? I am absolutely unaffected by extremely vivid violence on
television and in films. While others were gasping and covering their
eyes during specific moments in both of the movies below, I had no reaction whatsoever. And yet…I am totally appalled by the explicit sex scenes in HBO’s provocative new series, Tell Me You Love Me.
Look, I am not a prude or conservative by any stretch of the imagination. I have watched every episode of Queer as Folk, Nip/Tuck, The L Word and countless other cable programs that do not shy away from simulated fornication. And though those shows illustrate relatively graphic intimacy, none holds a candle to the bold physical contact between actors on Tell Me You Love Me.
As a cinephile, I am a strange dichotomy indeed; I shrug at onscreen brutality and shield my eyes from realistic, raw sexual relations. WTF?
Enough of the empty analysis. On to the reviews.
I do not like to delve into details
of a film and give away the farm. I will say that although I did not
love this movie, it was worth the price of admission for one scene
alone. You will know exactly which one when you see it for yourself.
There are a few moments in Eastern Promises that make Goodfellas seem like a Pixar production. Viggo Mortensen is a flat out badass and one hell of an actor. Here is a man who takes his craft seriously, who immerses himself so deeply into a role that it becomes impossible to a) take your eyes off of him and b) remember him as any other character, ever. Aragorn who?
Armin Mueller-Stahl (Shine) is fantastic as well, but I’m still not sold on Naomi Watts. Never have been. Color me unimpressed thus far. The sames goes for Vincent Cassel, whose overacting served as a distraction throughout the film.
If you are a fan of David Cronenberg’s eccentric oeuvre and are also desensitized to artificial violence, then this is one movie you might want to see in the theater. Otherwise, wait for the rental and get ready to flinch.
THE BRAVE ONE
It is safe to say that Jodie Foster is attracted to…harrowing movie roles. From The Accused to The Silence of the Lambs to Panic Room to Flight Plan and now The Brave One, her selection process has been fascinating to follow.
Foster is a phenomenal actress, and her latest thriller is no exception. Aside from the fact that it is slightly disconcerting to see Clarice Starling making out with Sayid (Lost‘s Naveen Andrews), The Brave One is a very good, visually intense film. I didn’t love it, but I enjoyed it far more than Eastern Promises. The fact that Foster appears in movies infrequently makes me appreciate her consistently stellar work that much more when she does grace the big screen.
I prefer to watch and experience films like this one with a crowd, because the ripple of reactions and body language of those in the periphery are a bonus. But I have a feeling that The Brave One will prove to be more popular on DVD, viewed in the safety and comfort of homes everywhere.