Brief Musings on Movies (March 12th-March 19th)

Wild At Heart (1990)


I am fundamentally undecided about David Lynch’s Wild At Heart. A part of me wants to endorse the picture solely for the fiery, passionate and erotically charged love story between Sailor (Nicolas Cage) and Lula. (Laura Dern) However, the Wizard of Oz references, retrograde spirit and surrealism are elements that a second viewing might bring much more clarity.

Breathless (1960)


Jean-Luc Godard’s debut picture Breathless (À bout de souffle) is less a cinematic experience than a dream of free-flowing, manic energy, which is both alive and vibrant in every frame. It is one of those rare films that transcends cultural context and contemporary cynicism. Instead, the film effortlessly makes one feel as though a veil as been lifted and an entire world has been opened up; fundamentally showing cinema in a sharp, subversive and sublime new light.


Snake Eyes (1998)


One of those few films where one can wholly embrace the performances, camerawork and pure cinematic artistry even in the face of an increasingly preposterous narrative that becomes so absurd in the third act that one swears they are watching a surreal comedic sketch on a beginner’s guide to atrocious storytelling.


The Black Dahila (2006)


While the rich colour scheme comprised of ashy browns, striking uses of yellow and a lavish desaturated wash make The Black Dahlia a visual marvel; it is inherently a turgid and soulless experience with none of the portent, darkness or emotional resonance that the film ought to have. Not even Brain DePalma’s virtuoso camerawork can redeem this incoherent, overstuffed and ultimately floundering spectacle.

The Curse of Frankenstein (1957)


Hammer Horror’s The Curse of Frankenstein is a slasher film of manners. Instead of an iconic masked individual who has a weapon and methodology of killing, the picture’s central antagonist who is responsible for the piling bodies is Baron Victor von Frankenstein. (Peter Cushing) Less a wolf in sheep’s clothing than a wolf with the veneer of respectability and comfort; Cushing imbues the character with a cold and harsh resolve that result in occasional moments of subtle paternal outpouring and comic moments of wit such as when he cocks his left eyebrow after brazenly dispatching of a distinguished Professor.

More interestingly is some of the cinematic choices and narrative decisions that enhance this vision. The end of one scene, when Frankenstein expresses a constant desire to acquire a brain of a genius is slyly cut with the next sequence, where he is laughing and expressing the admiration of his host’s intellect.

Quite crucially, the creature (Christopher Lee) Frankenstein creates is destroyed at the end. Consequently, in the film’s horrific final moments (Courtesy of a shot of a guillotine from a window sill vividly showing the Baron’s doomed fate.) Frankenstein is seen as the central monster of the picture; one who can be clearly seen and is not in the least part supernatural, in essence, a slasher movie villain with a human face.

About Sartaj Govind Singh

Notes from a distant observer: “Sartaj is a very eccentric fellow with a penchant for hats. He likes watching films and writes about them in great analytical detail. He has an MA degree in Philosophy and has been known to wear Mickey Mouse ears on his birthday.”
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