Observations on the Road to...

Sunday, December 21, 2008


No one should be surprised at the influx of good movies that should be seen this winter season, because that's usually how it always is. It's prime restate for Oscar contenders. Why do you think Warner Bros. is re-releasing The Dark Knight in January?

As mentioned in my previous entry, I saw Milk on Saturday, yesterday. I lived in San Francisco for two years, and you don't live in the city and can't get choked up by this film if you know this city, regardless of sexual orientation.

Harvey Milk, and what he helped to accomplish is a huge part of San Francisco history, and the Bay Area at large. With what is going on socially in our country right now, this film is especially poignant.

The whole thing about past being prologue couldn't be any truer now than it ever has. California's Prop. 8 in 2008 is an evolution of what California faced when Milk led the charge against Prop. 6 in 1978.

With the issues that the country is going through, as far as socially, economically, and abroad, it is, personally, a little weird, unnerving, and yet an exciting time that we are living in right now. There's always talk about doing something, about changing things, and about hope. And then there comes the time when it's actually happening in front of you, and you are seeing it with your own two eyes.

Gus Van Sant and Sean Penn are at the top of their game here. Van Sant blends some actual newsreel/stock footage from the 70s' into the narrative. It's not a technique that no one hasn't seen before, but when executed well, the result is nothing but gravy. The last time I saw it done was well was George Clooney's Good Night, and Good Luck a few years back.

As usual, you can always count on Josh Brolin to be good in roles as the antagonist and/or very-layered arc types, and he does it well here again playing Milk's and Mayor George Moscone's eventual killer, San Francisco Supervisor Dan White.

Penn's performance is very warm, and with a lot of heart, and is unmistakably Harvey Milk, and although Prop. 8 may have passed in November, it really is nothing more than a speed bump. Just look at who was elected President in the same election. As Milk stressed constantly, "you gotta give 'em hope." This bio-pic does what other good bio-pics do, it inspires.


Fad23 said...

Milk is easily my favorite film of the year. It's timely yet I believe universally human. The performances nearly flawless and direction that felt like a breeze. The cinematography, as you mentioned really did blend old footage with new brilliantly, so much so that I felt I was watching 70s film stock and just going along with the ride rather than noticing it.

And thank you for bringing up Good Night and Good Luck. Clooney is in my opinion one of the most underrated directors around. His direction of Confessions of a Dangerous Mind was just staggeringly good, bringing out the best performances possible from an incredible cast. Clooney really knows how to give his actors space. That film was where he first started working with vintage film clips. I'm highly recommending you check this one out!

Joey JP said...

Oh trust me, I saw “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind” when it was in theaters, but I’ve totally forgotten that he used vintage clips in that one, too... And now I have the image of Arnold Schwarzenegger as a contestant on the Dating Game in my head.