Thursday, April 27, 2006

The King - Opening Night Film at IIFF

Deciding that I didn't care about my cold, and that $10 was a small price to support a film festival in town I decided to go down to the opening night festivities down at the Indianapolis International Film Festival.

So 3 of us show up at the Historical Society and walk in. There is a line set to get into the screening room. A very well dressed, shirt pressed, horn rimmed glasses crowd was milling around talking beforehand, and the volunteers seemed to have everything running smoothly. We went into the screening room, and I would guess it was about half full, though since I am a fron seater I couldn't say for certain. There was a decent buzz and quite a nice bit of applause for one of the festival organizers as he went through thank you's and introduced the film.

The film was The King and I will let you get a hold of the plot summary at the link there. The film had a decent cast; Gael Garcia Bernal and William Hurt to name a few. The film itself? I am still processing it to be honest. The directing and performances were definately well done. The dialogue at times was very minimal leaving the audience to process what was happening, just by the pictures before them, and thats absiolutely fine with me. For instance, there is no need to tell me someone is accepted into a group of friends in dialogue, if you can actually just show them at a table together laughing or working together, or sharing a drink.

But, I couldn't help but think the film was only half realized. It seemed to me, that the scren writer had a great final scene in mind, and a great first half, but there is sch a shift in mood halfway through the movie. This is fine, of course if you see moments leading up to it, but what transpires, to me just was not forecasted well enough and went beyond suspension of disbeleif to just shoddy storytelling. Decent acting by Bernal and the rest of the cast however made the rest of the film viewable and still an enjoyable experience. Even after the mood shift I speak of their were great moments and unforseen moments that saved the film from drifting into an unwatchable mess. For some reason I was reminded of the films of David Gordon Green when I watched this. I don't know if it was the dialogue, or how Corpus Christi, Texas became not only the setting here, but also a character in a way.

At the end of the film they ask you to grade what you have seen on an academic scale, A+ through F and compile it for the audience award at the end of the festival. The two I was with gave it a C and I a C+. I have been thinking most the morning how I might have been a bit harsh, and how this might deserve a B-.

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