Tag Archives: Syriana

Berlin Review: V For Vendetta

Remember remember the fifth of November,
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason why the gunpowder treason,
Should ever be forgot…

-poem taught to British schoolchildren to help them remember their history
V-Unity.jpgBy way of introduction, those of you expecting a full-out action film better readjust your expectations. While not as demanding of your synapses and gray matter as say, Syriana, James McTeigue‘s V For Vendetta contains equal measures of political thriller and crime drama along with its action sequences and the political, moral and social issues raised in the film are ideas with which everyone on this planet should concern themselves.
By the way, it’s outstanding.
The (anti) hero of this piece, V (Hugo Weaving) is a violent, vindictive, unforgiving assassin bent on revenge for a wrong done him (and possibly many others) in years past. He will stop at almost nothing to accomplish his goals, personal and national in scope, and is the epitome of “the ends justify the means.” That said, he is also sentimental, erudite, emotionally vulnerable and a patriot of the highest order. Oh, did I mention that he wears a Guy Fawkes mask for the entire picture? Not your every day movie hero, V styles himself after Fawkes, the 17th century English Catholic who, with 12 others plotted to blow up the English Parliament building to protest Protestant rule. Fawkes and his fellow plotters were captured and executed (hung, drawn and quartered, no less) and Fawkes is still burned in effigy each November 5th.

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Boston Critics Go Cowboy, Capote

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On Sunday Brokeback Mountain film also topped the Boston Society of Film Critics awards according to published reports, picking up best picture and director, with Capote‘s Phillip Seymour Hoffman scooping Brokeback’s Heath Ledger for top male acting honors. The awards season front runner for best actress, Walk the Line‘s Reese Witherspoon picked up that award from the Boston crix, beating out my pretend girlfriend, Keira Knightly (Pride and Prejudice).

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Lawyers, Guns And Money: Syriana Enters The Mix

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NB: This is a dense and complex film, one that deserves many more thousands of words than I am able to devote to it, here. There are many studied and detailed reviews of the film out there, so feel free to check them out. You might want to start here: My personal favorite is A.O. Scott‘s review in the New York Times.
Last week I got the chance to see Stephen Gaghan‘s Syriana (now playing in NY & LA, expanding Dec. 9th) and it would be hard to find a more powerful indictment of American foreign policy and business practices (as if there’s really any difference between the two). The film is a sprawling epic of greed, callous indifference to human life and the real driving force behind all modern politics, money. For example, if there is more money in keeping the fundamentalists in power in Iran, you can bet your ass the US government will do whatever they can to achieve that goal.

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