What is more challenging – To direct a movie based on a one-liner that goes like this.. ‘a person gets stuck under the rock and he stays there for 5 days before realizing that the only way to get out is to cut his arm out of the rock” or To write a screenplay for the same one-liner ?
I don’t know the answer but Danny Boyle had done both of the above with a product which seems to be generating reactions ranging from ‘brilliant’ to ‘outstanding’. The problem with watching a movie that has generated so much positive reviews in the critics circle is that your mid is already tuned. As much I tried not to get carried away by the reviews, I have to admit that I was – before watching the movie.
Fox Searchlight has done the biggest disservice to this film’s award season chances by engaging in this limited release gimmick, which after the first 2 weeks seemed annoying. Now it is not only annoying but seems to be hurting the movie’s chances of winning some decent awards. I am not saying this movie was the best ever movie to be made in 2010 – And that’s not how awards work too. But given all the positive things surrounding this movie, they may have lost the momentum they could have otherwise, to capitalize on the buzz.
The movie was a great 2 hour ride. It didn’t quite feel that painful except a few minutes when the sound engineer and AR Rahman make sure you have the most ‘unexplainable’ surreal experience (yes, I am talking about that scene). But overall, Danny Boyle made sure he and Simon Beaufoy wrote a script that would bring more lightness and energy on screen, than gloominess and pain. They succeeded very well in that effort. In way of building characters, there was very little room for Danny Boyle to be imaginative. So they used a few voice messages from Aaron’s mon & sister and a camera panning across his apartment catching minor details like what is in the refrigerator, what he packs for his day hike, etc. to capture Aaron’s background while the first few minutes of his drive to point A before he starts his hike to Blue John Canyon were enough to build the basic strength and grit of Aaron’s character & what drives him. Brilliant Direction!
There were not many parts in the movie that made me ask “why”. That in itself is a success for the scriptwriter and the director because they managed to sell their script so convincingly to the audience. Even though the script was based on a real life story and was endorsed by Aaron himself, to narrate a story with not so many twists and turns, is a daunting task.
James Franco all the way. I won’t elaborate on it other than just saying that he couldn’t have played that part better.
Music – For a Hollywood movie, the movie is truly path-breaking. SdM was path-breaing too but it was not a Hollywood movie – so in many ways, Danny and AR Rahman deserve more credit for doing what they did in this movie. Who can pull off “Acid Darbari” in a movie like this? To me, hearing this piece being played on the screen to stunning visuals of the Utah Canyons, brought some goosebumps. Very innovative and Very haunting.
This is a movie that I would like to watch again and again – not because of the entertainment value but to learn a thing or two about movie making. You don’t need a complicated storyline with twists, turns and suspense to make a good movie. The movie teaches you – Heck! You can make a good movie with a real life story everyone knows about and with a plot as straight as a freeway running through Nebraska.