24 September 2008

71. the lion in winter





i love a good first shot, and this was is a doozy: we see a beautiful blue sky, tranquil and clouded-filled, and then two swords clash.

this is the movie in a nutshell.

this is a movie about family being a battle where the balance of power is constantly shifting, just like in any other family. everyone wants power, everyone wants attention, everyone wants acknowledgement, everyone wants to be special -- and you don't have to be royalty for those feelings to be accurate and for them to come to the surface.

this is a movie about the bonds of family, so there's a reason this movie is set during a holiday.

this is one of the most entertaining pictures i've ever seen, if you use the term "entertainment" to mean a piece of work that you have to keep watching and keep engaged with, simply because you never know what will happen next and you have no idea how it will end.

and the dialogue! holy shit! i thought "sweet smell of success" had some juicy lines, but this trumps it and trumps it hard. there are too too many to run down, but here are just a few that jumped out at me:


* "in a world where carpenters get resurrected, everything is possible."
* "i never heard a corpse complain of how it got so cold."
* "my finest angle. It's on all the coins."
* "i could peel you like a pear and god would call it justice."
* "power is the only fact."

finally, i know it seems silly and out-dated now, but i love that characters used to laugh uproariously in old movies. you see this seemingly at the end of every scene in "the wild bunch" and many others (that example is the first that comes to mind), and i can't intellectualize it -- i just like it. in this case, the king and the queen laugh their way through the last scene, and it is a choice that seems to make sense -- they rip each other apart throughout the entire thing through matters that are literally life and death, and yet, to them, on some level, it is all a laugh.

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