The internet has all but taken over the world now. It’s used to communicate with new people, find out information and as showcased in Kairo (or Pulse as it’s more commonly known as in Europe) it can be used by ghosts to invade earth and haunt the people of whom it encounters. That’s a pretty cool idea, huh?
For the first hour or so it works moderately well, and with the ideas in full flow it’s a very intriguing film. Unfortunately though, as the film moves along, not much really comes of the ingenious and largely unique premise and by the end of the film I was just left wondering if any of it makes sense, the answer of course is no. I’m all for ambiguity and suspense, but the film does not excel when it should. I applaud it for its premise, unusual methods and the occasional moments of surreal power, but it just doesn’t leave me with any resounding feelings.
Dark Water focuses on the relationship of a recently divorced mother and her child as they struggle to settle in one location long enough for the daughter to attend kindergarten. The apartment they move into seems nice, and the residents seem even nicer, but as with any horror film, not is all as it seems and even before they’ve moved into the apartment, strange circumstances begin to happen.. That’s not a complaint of the pacing by the way; it’s more of a glowing praise on my behalf. And yet, the suspense still manages to captivate and flow as great as anything else. It’s difficult to understand how a film that starts and builds up so quickly can also feel slow, patient and tense at the very same time, but Dark Water does it incredibly well.
As for the rest of the film itself, it’s good, but nothing particularly incredible. The premise is simple, yet intriguing, well-choreographed and sinister and I admire the film-making skills of Japanese horror legend Hideo Nakata and the soaring performance from Hitomi Kuroki, but it just feels as if something is missing and I’m not entirely sure what it is.
Something that I desperately love is the ending, it’s set up so wonderfully and the final scenes are delivered with such emotional intensity that it leaves a resonating power on the entirety of the movie, however flawed it may be. It’s the greatest moment of the entire film.
Fargo would probably be my favourite Coen film if it wasn’t for their masterpiece debut feature that is Blood Simple. And now with a second viewing of Fargo complete, I think I actually appreciate and understand the mood of the film a lot more than I might have done previously. The dynamic attitude of the film is simply unrecognisable or incomparable to anything that focuses on the themes of murder and mystery. The dark tone of the film is blended superbly with the comedic aspects to create a truly remarkable piece of cinema. Despite the fact that we’re never really let inside the mindset of our protagonists and antagonists, the character development that stems from the astounding screenplay leaves a bigger mark than any back-story or formulaic explanation sequences ever could. See this film, if not for the dazzling screenplay, then see it for the chilling atmosphere of the cinematography.
I try to watch as many classics as I can, but for some reason Kramer vs. Kramer was never one that I considered watching, despite its vast acclaim and the presence of screen legend Dustin Hoffman at the forefront of it. Often when I finally watch these established classics, I end up loving them and almost feel frustrated that I put them off for so long. Kramer vs. Kramer is one of those times, and it’s definitely one of the biggest emotional roller-coasters that cinema has to offer.
As soon as it started, I knew this was the film for me. Right from the get-go it had the emotional power and smooth storytelling that I so deeply love. Benton tells the story in such an admirable and devastating manner that for a film that starts off as a soul-seeking journey for the Mr. Kramer, played by Dustin Hoffman, who has to adapt to his new life as a single father after the departure of the Mrs. Kramer in Meryl Streep ends up as a courtroom drama. The first hour or so is just lovely stuff. Mr. Kramer struggles to deal with the demands of his mother loving young child, but eventually ends up igniting a relationship so smooth, subtle and majestic that it made me tear up inside how true and powerful it really is.
Later on, as Mrs. Kramer comes back into the mix and wants the custody of her child back, the story turns into a courtroom drama. The transition from this father-and-son relationship to a courtroom drama is so well paced and nourished to a quite magnetic manner and not for one minute does it feel rushed, un-prepared or off-the-mark.
So many films try to have devastatingly powerful moments so rapidly, but the way Kramer vs. Kramer makes the tale so emotional and astonishing is simply stunning and that has to go down to Robert Benton’s landmark screenplay.