Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

King To Pawn Three

I don't check critic's reviews of films before I see them, I want to go in unbiased. I'm certain that the critics are going to rip this one apart, film-goers might too. Its not that its a bad film, it isn't, rather it has been advertised to be something it isn't, so the public's expectations have been improperly set.

I know a bit about politics in our great neighboring state of Louisiana, considering my family lived there on 3 different occassions. Its riddled with high drama taking the form of charasmatic corruption to a level that makes it a self-parody. Don't look to Louisiana to apologize for that, on the contrary, they are proud of it. And it seems to work for them, mostly.

All The King's Men

My friend Fifi and I were expecting more drama and action than was delivered, but thats ok, what we got was good, just not expected. All The King's Men is a character and dialogue-centric, slow-paced look at one Louisiana governor's rise to power in the 1940's. The story itself is dramatic but it is told in the nuanced manner of the 40's itself.

Outstretched, moss-covered branches of centuries-old Live Oaks, gracious antebellum mansions on the eve of their decay, lilting accents with that uniquely identifiable step-slide cadence, men in suits, ties and hats. The staging and detail to the location and era in which the story occured were phenomenal. I don't think I picked out one anachronism, and ususally I am good at nailing those.

Sean Penn was at his best portraying Stark (thin disguise of Huey Long), seriously, the scenes of him delivering the "message to the people" with his hands a-flailin' in the air, eyebrows raised and head cocked in tempo with the words made this movie. And that dead-on accent, you'd swear he was a native.

His holy Bear-i-ness of mafialand, James Gandolfini, makes an appearance as yet another corrupt politician thrown into the batter. He comes off believeable, although, on occassion, his accent switched back to northern NJ mob boss. I was glad to see him moving on from Tony Soprano.

I had some issues with Jude Law and his character. While he was certainly good, I felt he delivered too much lamb and not enough lion; the particular character would have had more dimension if he was portrayed as more emotionally involved with the political situation and less politically involved with his emotional situation. But the big problem with this film is that it is about 30 minutes too long. Fortunately the last scene is riveting and I doubt I'll be able to look at a Louisiana state map in quite the same way again.



Blogger purpletwinkie said...

1) I'm jealous. I want a friend named Fifi.

2) Jude Law can be my lamb any day.

3) I'm done.

5:17 PM

Blogger Jason said...

I may have to check this one out.
Can you review the new Scorcese when it comes out, I believe next week? I normally don't check critics either, but I like your reviews. I'm starting to think of you as my "movie" safety net.

10:53 PM

Blogger Jim said...

You can have a friend named Fifi, Scott. Just rename one of your friends like I did :)

7:44 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Jason, I totally plan on seeing The Departed, I even wrote it down in my calendar :)

Oh no the pressure, Jason's movie safety net, I might have to start drinking. Wait, too late =)

7:45 AM

Blogger The Persian said...

Given my son's fascination with the 1940's (and mobsters) I think he would love it. Thanks for the review!

Have a great weekend :)

11:51 AM

Blogger Jim said...

I thnk you are right Jim, he will. You have a great one too and no shaving we like stubbly Jim :)

2:59 PM

Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...

Raised in Lafayette...yes, we are a bit twisted in our way of thinking our politics is something to be proud of LOL. I'm looking forward to this movie.

11:54 PM

Blogger angel, jr. said...

What a cool name "Fifi".
What is it about Louisiana that makes it a great setting for movies like this? I would love to live in Louisiana.

9:32 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Steve, I always liked the South's saying that 'we dont hide our crazy people, we bring them right out onto the porch".

Much easier way to live, isnt it? :)

10:06 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Yes, isnt it Angel? MY friend Alana (her actual name) renamed herself to Fifi back when I was attempting to learn French, she thought it would be more appropriate.

I never did take to the French language but 7 years later I still call her Fifi.

10:17 AM


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