Like so many of Nichols previous character studies (“Carnal Knowledge,” “The Graduate,” and “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf”) “Closer” is a brutal portraiture of the nature of the human beast. Although the film feels much like the play it was adapted from, it delves deeply into the largely rotten souls of its four subjects exposing them for flawed people that they really are. Ultimately this is a film to savor and loath, but more than anything this is film about performances that you either believe or you don’t. I did.
Archive for April, 2005
For the record I was not a huge fan of Kill Bill 1. Sure the outlandish fights scenes were kind of fun to watch, and the trademark Tarrantino pop-culture universe was very much alive and well, but the film lacked any kind of real depth. But with Kill Bill 2, the real masterpiece is allowed to flourish. If the first film was the surface, the second is infinite underside, the place where everything begins and ends. More an exercise in the sculpting of strong and memorable characters, the film meanders through Tarrantino territory where everyone’s hard exterior gives way to complicated characters who have stories, motives and experiences that a truly a pleasure to watch come to life. This is another feather an already near perfect cap.
You need to think of DeNiro as Jake LaMotta, Ben Kingsley as Gandhi, or Orson Welles as William Randolf Hearst, when you evaluate Jamie Foxx’s transformation into Ray Charles. More than just make-up and mannerisms, Foxx inhabits his character almost as if he had been studying his entire life for the chance to let him out. But “Ray” is also a story that seems almost too improbable to believe: a poor blind man from the still racist South boards a bus with only a few dollars and proceeds to reinvent American music. This is a story mostly about possibility, about making dreams real in a world that gives nothing away for free.