|10.22.06||Alamo South Lamar|| After Rescue Dawn, we couldn't help ourselves but to make it into a Christian Bale double feature by seeing this.|
Um, I guess there'll be spoilers below... so if you are reading and you aren't me and you haven't seen it and don't want it spoiled, just know that I liked it.
ok... so yeah, it's about obsession mainly... but here's what I liked about it.
-I liked that both of the main characters are not particularly likable. As their contest of one-upsmanship escalates, I found myself constantly guaging which was the more antagonistic. What's funny is that, by the end, I had pretty much decided that Hugh Jackman's character was closest to "the bad guy" just to have one of my friends say that he thought Christian Bale was the bad guy. And yet, for a movie about two unlikable people, it's still very watchable. Sure a lot of that is to do with figuring out what's going on, and we watch because we're waiting for the next reveal, but still. Both men are very good actors and much of this movie deals in character so I found it cool that it wasn't clear at all which one we should be rooting for.
-I like that Scarlett Johansson played a magician's assistant because that meant that she'd be wearing cleavage-enhancing corsets and short skirts and trampy stockings in every scene... which is nice.
-I LOVE that the movie isn't afraid to leave the realm of authenticity and veer just a bit into science fiction. It's also what I liked most in a trilogy of historical novels written by once-sci-fi-king Neal Stephenson... just a touch of the unreal or fantastic goes a long way in changing the overall tone and possibilities of a movie. To that end, David Bowie and Andy Serkis also give good performances.
However, a movie like this is engineered to be a magic trick in itself... so when they more or less give away both of the big twists before the ending, I was left wondering if I had missed anything with the movie's last shot. It's like saying "Ta-Da!" 15 minutes after the trick when you've already explained it and your audience already gets it. Maybe not though... I heard some people around me whisper "holy shit!" on that moment... and I hate it when people say they figured it out right from the beginning so I'll stop talking about the ending.
Overall, I liked this movie, probably as much as Rescue Dawn but for completely different reasons. It's definitely quality, and I'll have to wait for the repeat viewings to see what stays with me. This, together with The Fountain, didn't seem to mind leaving a few things open for discussion though, which I really appreciate. It's so refreshing to not have a movie treat me like I'm 6.