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[personal profile] zustifer
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994), Joel Coen. Mar 4, 9pm. View count: Four? Five?

Well! It'd been a while since I'd seen this. Back in college I considered this a fine example and a model of filmmaking. Seeing as how it's a temporary Raimi/Coens crossover, this is unsurprising for me personally. This time around I actually found it... overdone, to some small extent -- just a bit too much in all directions. Too blaring for its depth. I still like it, and it's obviously a serious show of craft, but candy-colored caricatures writ large are I guess less my thing now than then. I never would have named a Coens piece as one unlikely to age perfectly, but, here we are. My feelings about this are complex, I assure you. ('Wow, I was kind of shallow back in college / But I still appreciated high craft / Stop writing off this movie -- it's a fine and well-executed thing / But, seriously, magical negro and woman afraid of appearing mannish?' &c.)

However, the craft really is quite impressive. The snappy patter, the costumes, the friggin' brilliant sets and lighting, the decision to just go for it, period -- all of these things are excellent. It's beautiful to look at, the acting is quite good, and all the concepts get across, with significant amounts of flair.

I guess I've just lost some of my starry-eyed love for this film; it feels now to me like an intermediate work, trying for something and not quite making it.

(Aside: I should mention that something that has bothered me all along was that Tim Robbins' inventions were actual products. I liked them much better as abstract concepts. Once you take them into the mundane world of toy shops and what have you, you've lost the platonically perfect idealism of that circular concept, and something important goes away. I feel similarly (although less so) about the fight of the good and evil guardians. Anyway, I think that concretizing the inventions was a bad move, but I realise that the movie would have had to change some as a result of not doing that.)

I may come back and write more about this later, but I have another movie to cram into the queue now, so...
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Karla Z

February 2012

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