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The Gospel of Saint AAA-soul,
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This review is from: Magnolia (2 Disc Box Set)  [DVD] (DVD)
There was a time when making films that were going against all possible rules in the profession was a dear pastime of some film makers. This film is one of these. Everything is upside down.
First an irritating musical sound tracks behind and often over the dialogue. The absolutely absurd succession of short sequences of characters that have nothing in common at first sight and even at second sight. Some connections only become clear at the very end of the film. A lot of old people who have been forgotten on burial day though they are more ghostlike than just plain phantoms,, oops! Sorry, sorry senior citizens, all in the process of dying of all kinds of unnameable ailments, mostly cancer if I heard the words properly in the short silences of the music track.
All of them are abominable. Particularly the men, but at the same time the women are not better, subservient and only interested in the security they are and have been provided with. Some are vultures even, and openly so. The younger ones are not more presentable. A drug addict, a social climber, and a few others. We are in the deepest pit of a zoo and all the predators were put together down there like twenty spiders in a pot.
Among these one cop who is a fool who believes people can repent and even repair their mistakes and that his real function is to forgive them and by forgiving them lead them into reforming. Marvellous, divine, angelic, with a good dose of sugar on top and whip cream à la mode.
But for such an end to be reached you need a miracle and the miracle happens in the middle of the night after everyone has failed, flunked, fled away from their responsibilities, confessed their crimes. The worse oldie is that dying man who bluntly and flatly tells us that he was in love with his wife, his high school crush, sweetheart, but that he cheated on her for twenty-two or twenty-three years just because he wanted her to be a man since she was intelligent and could not be a woman. Closet homosexual who finally abandoned her in the hands of their son who was at the time under age to take care of a dying mother. Absolutely pathetic and that son finally arrives and cries on the bed of his dying father. This time burlesque.
And to make that miracle of reformation happen God will send a powerful sign in the middle of the night from the sky and that I won't reveal. But it really is Mark Twain revisited. The taller the tale, the more believable. Though it turns this story into a farce, a grotesque commedia dell arte prank. So what's left at the end?
This world is neurotic at least, psychotic in the middle and schizophrenic at most or at best. We don't live in our minds and in our gentility. We live in the surrounding noise of constant elevator music which at times sounds like a tornado in a culvert. We are blended, mashed, pureed by this constant continuous sound track and we start reacting like demented puppets suffering from Gilles de la Tourette syndrome, a condition that causes people to make repeated, nervous tic-like movements and utter innumerable swear words strung up like never-ending necklaces of excrement. This is a serious disease and the film seems to tell us it is the normal condition of everyday life for everybody starting as soon as the person can utter two words and they probably don't say mama or papa any more in Los Angeles, but rather kaka and some onomatopoeia for the backside hole that brings the soul to the fundament of the body, the backside exhaust pipe of the individual, the AAA-soul.
But if that is the depth of our lot then God is right to send some severe punishment down onto us to make us recapture some dignity. By the way, you will probably see that Tom Cruise could do better than he does in many of his films. He must have been inspired by this story of AAA-souls lost in the mud of senior-citizenship and midlife crisis.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU