Friday, 15 August 2014

AUGUST 15, 2014

BOBBY (2006) Directed by Emilio Estevez. ****

BOBBY is Bobby Kennedy and Emilio Estevez's film chronicles the day of his assassination. However the film chooses not to follow Kennedy (who is not dramatically portrayed in the film) but instead to concentrate on the other people who were shot on that day in the hotel kitchen and their reasons for being there. It must be stated that although these people existed the characters who represent them in the film are fictional substitutes - with the possible exception of the young Mexican kitchen hand. Some have complained that it is difficult to be interested in the details of these people's lives while such dramatic historical events are unfolding, but I think they miss the point of the film that Estevez set out to make. Whatever one's feelings about the Kennedys both JFK and Bobby represented to many American's the hopes, dreams and aspirations they had for a better, fairer and more just country. If the JFK Camelot dream was wiped away in Dallas, Bobby offered a second chance - and that is what this film is about - about the people's dreams. I found the film supremely moving in much the same way that Emilio's earlier directorial effort, THE WAY was. Both films are quietly subversive inasmuch as they get under your skin and make you think of things that lay beneath the surface - just as THE WAY was "not about religion" (to quote one of that film's characters) so BOBBY is not about politics, it is about much, much more.  The cast is quite phenomenal : William H. Macy, Anthony Hopkins (who also produced), Demi Moore, Emilio Estevez, Martin Sheen, Sharon Stone, Harry Belafone, Elijah Wood, Laurence Fishburne, Helen Hunt, Lindsay Lohan, Shia LaBeouf and many others.

Saturday, 2 August 2014

AUGUST 2, 2014

WALK LIKE A DRAGON (1960) Directed by James Clavell. **

What a strange career James Clavell had. It is hard to believe that the director of this interesting little film was also responsible for TO SIR WITH LOVE - although both films show in interest in racial issues. WALK LIKE A DRAGON was the second film to feature the young James Shigeta (who died last week) following Sam Fuller's THE CRIMSON KIMONO which was made the previous year. Both films deal with inter-racial relationships. While KIMONO was probably the braver film for the time inasmuch as the Nissei detective (played by Shigeta) was allowed to get the caucasian girl over his white buddy, it is DRAGON that goes into the subject of prejudice in greater depth. Shigeta plays a young Chinese who goes to the American West in the 1870's and finds himself in a love triangle with a girl freed from slavery and her employer with whom she has fallen in love. Shigeta takes to the gun under the tutelage of a gunfighter (surprisingly played by singer Mel Torme) and the girl (the lovely Nobu McCarthy) has to choose between the two men to avoid bloodshed.  interesting to see Jack Lord, in his pre-HAWAII 5-0 days, as the third side of the triangle. The direction by Clavell is pretty pedestrian but the film deserves praise for its willingness to deal with a controversial subject in an intelligent way.