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Mr. S. G. Ryder "hydra815"

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The Swimmer [DVD] [2003]
The Swimmer [DVD] [2003]
Dvd ~ Burt Lancaster
Price: £4.95

1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Forgotten Masterpiece, 7 Sep 2012
This review is from: The Swimmer [DVD] [2003] (DVD)
'The Swimmer' is a film I can see myself coming back to over and over again, which is not something I do too often with films like this one which, on it's base level, is a simple allegory about a man cracking under the immense social pressure that many suburbanites must feel on a daily basis. However, the film works on too many levels to merely see it as a clever metaphor and the wonderfully operatic ending that unnerves, excites and dismays at the same time is a real humdinger and gives repeat viewings an entirely new atmosphere, something I admire greatly in the world of cinema.

Burt Lancaster excels as the aforementioned Ned, the man who, improbably, decides to swim home from his friends suburban home via his neighbours swimming pools. As bizzare as it sounds, we actually get quite used to the idea after the first couple of swimming pools and urge Ned on to complete his journey, not just because we are meant to but because the adventure eventually becomes an odyssey, something we need to see completed, something we need to have some closure on. Except by the end, maybe we wish we hadn't followed Ned at all through his statement of self-deception.

Aside from the wonderfully realised plot, the director Frank Perry and his crew do a wonderful job keeping our eyes engaged with off-base camera angles and editing as well as some luscious, almost nostalgic lighting, which adds a sense of melancholy to the film that seems almost out of place until the bigger picture is revealed.

This understated but really rather fantastic piece of New Hollywood cinema has many treasures to unearth and is very much worth a punt at £4. A good investment that hopefully will keep you thinking for days on end. Anyone fancy a swim?

Camera Buff [1979] [DVD]
Camera Buff [1979] [DVD]
Dvd ~ Jerzy Stuhr
Price: £6.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Birth of an Auteur, 5 Sep 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Camera Buff [1979] [DVD] (DVD)
For a quick review, it would be easy to say that 'Camera Buff' is a multi-layered, beautifully performed and often quite funny film that may alienate some viewers with the weight of it's themes but also provides a very rich commentary on the struggles of an artist.

Although Kieslowski made better films than this during his career (Three Colours Red in particular showcasing a director at the height of his ability), 'Camera Buff' is certainly the most personal of his narrative films, due to the fact that it deals with the moral perils of being a film-maker, something that he often talks about in the very few candid interviews he has given. Whilst his later films dealt with more grandiose themes of fate, mortality and chance, 'Camera Buff' is a much more humanistic film, focusing on one man's search for a meaningful existence and the struggles he encounters along the way. This is a very simple and oft-explored theme in cinema but Kieslowski does not allow this to make his work any less complex, opting to add layer upon layer of characterisation and thoughtfulness.

The journey, evolution and growth of an amateur film-maker who loses more than just himself to the tempting world of art and the creative freedom it brings raises a lot of questions but what I find very often with Kieslowski is there is complete lack of conviction in his films. Rather than being a criticism, I find it a refreshing change to be watching a film whose director is asking as many questions as his audience along the way and is hoping to get as much out of the process of making a film as we are from watching it. This, of course, is mirrored within the film and the parallels between reality and fiction are partly what gives it such a strong pulse throughout.

It is carried along nicely by a quietly nuanced performance from Jerzy Stuhr and will be thoroughly enjoyed by anyone hoping to gain a greater insight into both film-making as an art and about Kieslowski as a film-maker.

The Ghost [DVD]
The Ghost [DVD]
Dvd ~ Ewan McGregor
Offered by best_value_entertainment
Price: £3.34

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Polanski thriller that plays like a classic., 26 Aug 2012
This review is from: The Ghost [DVD] (DVD)
Sometimes considered to be the 'anti-Hitchcock' by film critics after a double helping of psychological terror ('Rosemary's Baby and 'Repulsion') in his formative years, Polanski here delivers a more austere take on the master's films.
Everybody knows that Roman Polanski can make a tension-filled film, it's been evident from the very start of his career with 'Knife in the Water, but whilst a lot of his films are often marked down as "thrillers" that border more on horror, one of his more recent offerings, 'The Ghost', fit's into the thriller genre very cosily. Polanski has a great inventiveness in the way he approaches tension within his films and 'The Ghost', in particular, meanders along for a while, serving to be highly intriguing and a little unnerving but nothing more than that. The classic Polanski trope is the way that, after all this seemingly unnecessary build-up, we suddenly realise that we are caught up in a story that has been silently and skilfully unfolding without his audience realising. The pacing of his films is so organic and naturally constructed that our suspension of disbelief is never found wanting, which for me is the most important aspect of constructing a film within the thriller genre.

Owing a lot to, and taking inspiration from, Hitchcock's classic 'man-on-the-run' films, 'The Ghost' manages to tell an excellent story without pandering to it's audience. There is very little exposition and we are invited to attempt to figure out things on our own before the, admittedly slightly lacklustre, twist at the end. However, it's the journey that counts and whilst 'the Ghost' may not be a masterpiece in the 'Chinatown' mould, it nevertheless serves up a cracking tale of suspense. Supporting Polanski's tight direction are some excellent performances from Ewan McGregor and Olivia Williams and some of the locations used are beautiful to look at. A clever and always interesting film that delivers on a lot of levels.

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