There is a deliciously bloody edge to every sentence uttered in Miller’s Crossing. Wicked humour beats the hell out of the sub-machine guns used in this Coen brothers masterpiece. It’s a pity this picture did not get its due in its time. Now regarded as a classic, Miller’s Crossing has to be the capo di tuo or titi or whatever they call the head honcho in the local mafia, of all gangster flicks. Hey, something in me says that this movie wins hands down against ‘The Godfather‘.
Gabriel Byrne, John Turturro, Albert Finney and an inspired extended cameo from Jon Polito enliven every frame of this movie. The movie is all Mr. Byrne – cool, calculating with a streak to live on the edge. Albert Finney plays the cold blooded patriarch of the gangsterhood with elan. John Turturro is the hyena scavenging off borrowed time from all and sundry, all the while using his falsetto to disarm anyone caring enough of a coward. The title of the movie makes its presence felt throughout the movie and you are sure that somethin’s cooking whenever the bunch of double crossing schemers meet. Talking about double crossing there’s a whole lot of it happening throughout the movie and Gabriel Byrne is as foxy as Mr. Fox himself as he charms, manipulates and even gets to show traces of humanity or emotion when he gets to don the role of an executioner in a beautifully constructed setting in the forest. This beautiful execution sequence alternates between a dream and reality as the pleads of the condemned are interspersed with the rolling beauty of the leaf strewn forest bed and the large lumber cover.
So what’s the rumpus? Plenty I say. And don’t miss Sam Raimi‘s cameo in between. It’s pretty tongue-in-cheek cheeky. I never would have spotted it if not for the IMDB entry.
I missed something I had added to my checklist subconsciously a long time back. I know attending a Wilfy Rebimbus concert was one of those ‘things you do before you die’ pointers that had to be there on any Mangaloreans list. If only I had known.
For the uninformed (i.e. all non-mangaloreans) Wilfy Rebimbus (Konkan Kogul) was a giant of Konkani culture in the entire Konkani belt of the west coast of India. He was a Konkani singer who’s rich voice filled the homes of families through LPs or cassette players on humid evenings in Mangalore. My introduction to Wilfy’s songs were through the bands playing covers during fancy fetes or through the recordings that were played during any Konkani function in the family or community. He had a rich voice and was revered among all, even the present generation.
We will miss you Wilfy. We will miss those famous ‘Wilfy Nites’ that were organized for years in Mangalore and around. Your tryst with Mangalore brought in a melodious flow that cooled the otherwise warm coastal breeze. Take a bow Wilfy… if ever there was a decent human being who deserved to reach out higher, it was you.
I found it really hard to wrestle with my emotions while watching Mickey Rourke take a beating (both literally and figuratively) in what I consider to be a great Oscar indiscretion last year. If ever there was anyone who truly deserved a statuette for all the pain and suffering he took, it is Rourke. ‘The Wrestler‘ hurt, touched and if ever there were goosebump moments in a film this would rate tops.
From my first introduction to pro-wrestling in 1991 (thanks to a handheld ‘Royal Rumble’ WWF/E game gifted by an aunt) I have been a passive follower of the sport. I am no fanatic like some whom I know, but the drama and the macho moments ensure that dull moments are rare in the ring. What Darren Aronofsky has done with ‘The Wrestler’ is bring in respect of not only the ringmasters but also the fans who are willing to sacrifice that weekly cheque to have a look at their favourite men in tights. Mickey Rourke as the washed up wrestler who aims to get in another fight despite his heart condition, is the wrestler who painfully goes about his life trying to fit back into his family and society with hardly any success. As he tries healing old wounds with his daughter and nearly succeeds you just feel for the guy. He screwed up, took a beating and with no one out there to look for him but his fans, he tries to get back in the ring after a heart attack.
This movie deserved to be nominated at every level. Hell, you got to create a stunt coordinator nomination at the academy cause Rourke really seemed to have learnt the right moves. The beatiful Marisa Tomei as the love interest who nearly was and Evan Rachel Wood (I would rate her #1 on the next gen beautiful actress lists) are perfect foils for Mickey Rourke’s down and out wrestler. This movie is about acceptance, one of the most basic courtesies that one human could offer another but which we rearely find around us. And if ever there was an ode to fans of the ring this is it.
Take a bow ‘Ram’ (that’s Rourke’s character for you), Take a bow.