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I Stand Alone....,
This review is from: I Stand Alone [DVD]  [Region 1] [US Import] [NTSC] (DVD)
Gapar Noe is a great filmmaker. He is actually my new favorite Director and I look forward to seeing anything he touches upon seeing Irreversible which completely blew me away). It seems at first that his main focus is to take the things we have not yet endured in film and make us numb to it all.Noe is technically sound and writes an a decent screenplay here particularly the dialogue). Subtitles aside, if you speak English or French, the dialogue takes you deep into the mind of the film's "protagonist" (a character we briefly encounter in Irreversible as well).
Let's dissect the word protagonist for a moment. It can mean the principal figure or it can mean the leader of some kind of cause. Noe uses his protagonist for the former and destroys any positive connotation the word may have held at any point. Michael Corleone (The Godfather) and William Munney (The Unforgiven) are examples of villains directors are sympathetic toward, but there we find reason for their downward plunge, whether it be selfishness or simply the ever-relative feelings of retribution. These classic films pose some intriguing questions. Does real evil exist and assuming it does why should we care about what it thinks? or worse yet how we may actually see ourselves in their errors? Why can't we just put them in films and let their actions speak for themselves and let their consequences carry the audience toward a satisfying feeling of payback or resolution?
This story is about an old man released from jail and attempting to live his life plagued with guilt and hopelessness. He is a sad, indirectly sorry, unrealistic and profoundly disturbed character. He is misled and careless to everything around him. The kind of person we want to ignore completely and not know anything about. The kind of person whose motivations when taken into account entirely, make many of us cringe and want to warehouse him and others of his ilk in the demonic subculture of the American Correctional Facilities. But Noe takes a different approach completely. He not only engages this character but he refuses to sympathize, he just shows us what makes him tick. The film serves as a sort of diary for this character and shows us little in way of hope. He shows us a man who rationalizes every single dark thought and action he completes regardless of the fact that they are all so impulsive, primal and damaging to everything and everyone around him.
What Noe seems to understand is that the world is not always black or white, good or evil; but sometimes evil and more evil, pitch black and even darker. So here we can attempt to understand why a man would have a difficult decision to make between rape or murder, no matter how scary this proposition may sound to us. If you dare to take yourself into this character's mind then you may begin to realize that sympathy for anyone with even the potential to be like this is probably pointless, but your opinions are your own observations.
Keep in mind that Noe is not an advocate for his dark characters, he is really just a host. There are no messages in his film beyond how ugly life is in some circles. I'm not sure he means to say that life is as pointless as it seems here and in Irreversible. The film is definitely not for everyone; in fact chances are you will hate it very much but if you make similar observations that I have made after watching a movie than please go right ahead, but be careful. The film does contain some extreme violence and a brief pornographic sequence that appears on a TV screen, so be wary of these elements as well.