Sunday, November 05, 2006

Not Much Chance of Comin' Out Clean...

Recently seen DVDs...

Down In The Valley

I don't why I thought this was going to be a straight-up Western, but...I was wrong. The interesting thing about the film is, to Ed Norton's character Harlan, it really is. Down in the Valley is a somewhat beguiling film that disguises itself as quite a few things before we get down to the white meat of the tale. Its chameleon like shifts from genre to genre make its more cogent instances quite gratifying but ultimately left me in a bit of a stupor as to the relevance of what I just saw. That being said, Norton probably gives the best performance of his career, and surely one of the best of the year. He conveys honesty and authenticity even when he's lying, which, really, has to be hard even for a sociopath. A good film, but a great performace.


Brick is just a delight to watch. The whole idea is silly, but we knew that going in. The end result is a fairly fabulous excercise in pseudo-noir by someone who could very well be a damned fine filmmaker in the very near future. But, really, Brick is only able to pull the vintage noir aura off about half of the time. The blanks are then filled in with Mamet style dialogue and a Hitchcock resonance that does tend to leave you a bit befuddled. Really, though, it's the cast that's the point of note here. Young, talented, and willing to make sacrifices in order to make believe. Levitt cotinues to impress with every role he chooses, this being no different.

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