More Films

It must be some kind of overdose or something. In the last four days, I’ve seen four more films that I want to write about here.

The first two were Korean movies I watched with Lime: 오!브fk더스 (Oh! Brothers) was a comedy that was, as Korean comedies go, one of the better ones I’ve seen. It was a kind of goofy version of Rain Man, but the long-lost brother had Progeria, not autism, meaning he was twelve years old but had the body of an adult, and was put to work by his brother collecting money for the mob. I wouldn’t call it brilliant cinema, but it was pretty funny in parts, though some things just didn’t translate well. One of the biggest gags that failed like this involves the fact that the Korean word for “Progeria” and the Korean word for “impotence” sound quite similar. It’s nowhere near as funny in the subtitles. But there were laughs to be had, all the same.

The other Korean film I watched with Lime was called 얼굴없는 미녀 (the English title is Hypnotized, which is a separate title as the original Korean title means something more like “Faceless Woman”). This movie was a kind of cross between a psychological drama about a woman with Borderline Personality Disorder and the doctor who treated (and mistreated) her, and a horror story. In fact, the horror element is cleverly contained within the woman’s mental illness almost all the way through the movie… I won’t spoil it for you. But I will say even if you don’t like horror movies, this film, disturbing as it is, is worth seeing, if for nothing else than the chilling portrayal of mental illness that, it seems to me comparatively with my own exposure to mentally ill people, is rather spot on in some ways.

Sunday, Lime did some studying and I needed a break from writing, so I watched the movie Constantine at the cinema. It was a film Lime didn’t feel very interested in, but I had read a review of it that made me figure it was right up my alley: comic-book like adventure set in an alternate LA full of demons, angels, and otherworldly creatures battling over the species of humanity, with Keanu as a jaded old wizard dying of cancer and trying to set things straight before he shuffles off this mortal coil? Oh, okay, usually I could give or take Keanu, I don’t care for his acting, usually, but this film… there’s something about this film. Maybe it’s just my Catholic upbringing, but there was something about this explicitly Catholic-fueled commic-book-styled supernatural adventure that just pushed the right buttons for me. The way that Lucifer, Archangel Gabriel, and the human protagonists were played in this story were just right for me, somehow.

But the last movie I watched was something completely different: it was The Eternal Sunishine of the Spotless Mind. This movie is phenomenal, it’s a class above all of the other films I’ve mentioned in this post, with the possible exception of Hyponotized. It’s a film with class, with strangeness, with beauty and a kind of incredible honesty about relationships—that they can sometimes be ridiculously unpleasant, even between good and sane people, that they can be awfully difficult—and about memory—that, despite the pain it causes us, it is something that’s good to have, as long as we don’t let it control us, and as long as we learn from it—that’s stated in such a way that it doesn’t at all feel like it’s stating the obvious to us, the viewers. I was shocked to find Jim Carrey actually acting, for the first time I’ve ever seen. (An old friend claims Carrey did a movie in the 80s in which he played an alcoholic character and also actually acted, instead of just doing gags.) Forget The Mask and Ace Ventura. This man can act, and he does in this movie. His co-star, Kate Winslet, also does an amazing part in her role, though I am more disposed to expect that of her.

If there’s only one movie of these four that you can be bothered to see, see the last. Unlike the others, I feel no reservations in calling it not just a good movie but a work of art, for which credit I think a great deal should go to the writer of the screenplay, the wonderfully mad Charlie Kaufman (who also wrote films like Being John Malkovitch, Human Nature, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, oh yeah, and Adaptation, but we won’t hold that last one against him.

What was I saying? Oh yeah: just see The Eternal Sunishine of the Spotless Mind. See it. Period.

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