Welcome back to my blog! Today, I wanted to discuss film reviews. Many of the films I’m going to discuss are violent, but I’ll rarely highlight the violent or bloody scenes.
I’m going to write about the quieter scenes. The quieter scenes in violent films can seem mundane but they’re actually sinister. A couple are always mentioned in the same breath as the film itself. A violent film’s quieter scenes illuminate the powers of story and character through writing, acting, lighting, editing, directing, and so on.
I don’t see a lot of discussion about the quieter scenes. I might not be looking in the right places. There was a time, though, when I could buy a magazine or book and read the type of analysis I wanted to read.
Quieter scenes in violent films
–Ricky Roma and John Williamson in Glengarry Glen Ross (it’s an emotionally violent movie)
–Michael Corleone meets with Moe Greene, Johnny Fontaine, and his brother Fredo in Las Vegas
–Chigurh and the Gas Station Owner in No Country for Old Men
–Jimmy Hoffa and Russ Bufalino in The Irishman
I’m also posting an overall “trigger warning” for some of these scene reviews. Some scenes feature actors or filmmakers who have been rightfully held accountable for heinous or destructive behavior. There is a convincing argument that you can’t separate the performer from the performance.
I respect that view.
For many years, I didn’t write about scenes and performances that demonstrate the heart of a film, the theme of the film, or a major theme of life. I was afraid of being accused of sympathizing with a person who has done terrible things in real life. I don’t have a huge social following, but the size of a social following doesn’t spare anyone from a punchdown (even if the punchdown is deserved). Living in anxiety about something that may offend people is no way to live.
Steve Buscemi is an excellent example for the opposite situation. From all accounts, he is a wonderful person in real life. He was once a firefighter in New York City, and after the attacks on September 11th, Mr. Buscemi went to his former precinct, geared up, and volunteered at Ground Zero. I like that story a lot. It makes me feel better about humanity. It does not change how I look at his performances in Fargo and Reservoir Dogs. I can guarantee you that I never think about his good deeds in real life when I watch those films!
My $.02. I genuinely understand if you’d rather not read these scene reviews. I’ll include a trigger warning whenever possible.
I look forward to writing my reviews, and I hope you come with me on the journey!