Lost In Translation (Bear Film Review)

Recently, I watched Lost In Translation, a little doozy of a film which isn’t usually the type of thing I would stick on my goggle-box on a Friday evening, but thought ‘What the hey – it’s been on my radar for a while now (radar being Netflix) so why not watch it. ‘It can’t be that bad’, I tempted myself further – it’s got Bill Murray on the logo. ‘Give it a go…’

And so I did.

It opens with a shot of the back of some girl named Charlotte (Scarlett Johansson), lying on her side on a hotel bed, her crack on show translucently seen through her bland shapeless lady briefs. I initially found this a mundane, albeit, a mildly titillating opening, but as the film progressed it was clear that this was to set the mood for the duration of my viewing.

The key component to this lonesome, offbeat love story (which I classify as that, even though the ending left the viewer with a ‘did they/didn’t they’ situation) is the amazing atmosphere that permeates throughout. This film connects with the viewer what the two main characters are feeling – loneliness – without uttering to the audience one word of it. The way the girl and the much older guy, a has-been actor scraping ad commercials in Japan, connect on such a profound level really resonated with me: I felt their sorrow, I noticed how both of them must have felt inside when dealing with their bored, listless marriages. This film is the best example in recent years of how you don’t need to let the characters speak or do all that much in order for the audience to get what they’re going through.

Millions of people have been in a foreign country and have experienced how everyone speaks a language they cannot understand, and for that they are literally lost in translation. Because of this disconnect from the city of Tokyo around them, they form an unspoken bond – a translation of their yearning to feel noticed; and in their own lives, they don’t get that: the girl’s husband is a music photographer and is too caught up in that world to take notice of her, and the older guy’s wife only interact with him over the phone to ask him basic things, mentioning the kids, and asking when he’ll be back. The way the older guy’s wife talks to him however is done in such a moody way, a loveless way. No wonder he’s taking jobs half way across the world – he’s stuck in a loveless marriage.

So how do these two people, who would never have spoken to each other under other circumstances come to form a romance/close friendship?

Well, it all began with the girl asking the waitress to pass over a bowl of nuts to the older man at the bar, and from there they hit it off. He found out that she is a rather intelligent person, studying philosophy, and getting paid per bono and later finds out other stuff such as that she listens to an audiobook regarding finding your own soul’s passion in life. Later, he tackles this head on (as she denied, in a way, that this was her tape) and asked her what she wants to do with her life. It’s here we, the viewer, realise she is stuck in the shadow of her lover. She’s only in Tokyo to follow around her husband and his pursuit in his dreams, and it seems to have had an impact on the directionlessness(nessness…) of her own dreams. I mean, she’s tried things such as Photography, and gave writing ago but said she didn’t like what came out when she did, so it’s pretty evident that she’s a lost soul. Bob tells her that she’ll land on her feet, and that she shouldn’t give up on the writing (which I saw as a subtext to the director’s own personal experience, as I believe some of the film was in relation to her past encounter with someone in a foreign city. Don’t quote me on that, unless you want to look potentially stupid, which you’re not – I love you).

Bob on the other hand has become this blasé, almost jaded ghost of his former self. He’s stuck not only in his loveless relationship, but also in his dwindling actor career. He’s embarrassed whenever someone actually notices who he is, and hates the production of the whisky drinking advert he had to do. I found this very funny to watch, and loved how they made him play Roger Moore as opposed to Sean Connery, whom he thought was better. Charlotte brought out of Bob this realisation that perhaps it’s okay to feel upbeat once in a while. (Saying that, I did get a kick out of the despond faces Bill Murray had throughout this film. Priceless.)

She brought out his youthful side as they interacted in bars and a karaoke booth that overlooked the city. This scene (in the booth) was a key scene to the movie for me as it showed that, though both obviously drunk, there was real affection between them, plus that Bob is a real gentleman afterwards when he carried her back to her hotel room and tucked her in bed).

More signs that Bob had fallen in love with Charlotte included him suddenly extending his trip so that he can go do a chat show (which he ended up hating). Yet things take a backslide when he wakes up with the red haired jazz singer from the hotel bar, and Charlotte knocks on the door to hear that he has ‘company’. When they go for lunch later that day, it’s apparent that Charlotte is jealous, and Bob reacts like a sulky kid. Both are hurt by what had happened, and both vehemently regret it.

The film ends with Bob saying goodbye to Charlotte in the hotel lobby, and it all seems a bit anti-climatic. The Japanese greeters are there to distract him with photo poses and their barrage of bye byes, and Charlotte resides herself with going back to the lift, and looking dejectedly up to the sky.

Bob gets in the taxi. It’s all over. But wait – he spots the back of in her the busy city crowd. Her body’s figure so distinct to him as it was to us (the viewer) in the first scene of the movie. Bob gets out of the taxi. Runs up to her and calls out her name. Hugs her. Kisses her…

But we do NOT hear what he whispers into her ear. Damn it! What did he say? And alas the movie is over.

It’s a wonderful display of unspoken bonds in unfamiliar land. A movie that really captures the feelings of loneliness and isolation, even in a place so densely packed as Tokyo, Japan. Like I said as I started off this review: I wasn’t expecting to like this film so much as I did. Sure, it’s a slow burner, but it sure packs an emotional punch by the end.

I blubbed a bit. No shame there.

9/10

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The Motorcycle Diaries – Film Review

Ever wondered what it would be like to follow around a young Che Guevara around on his motorcycle travels around the whole of South America in the 50s, accompanied by his older mate, trying to hook up with da ladies and blag their way through the day, but by the end of it, watch as the epiphany opens like a flower and blossoms into his life his ultimate calling, the meaning of his existence and what he later dedicates his life to?

Yeah – me neither. (Note to self: stop being facetious!) BUT still, I watched it, and I thought it was pretty darn good. To be more accurate: this film had me from the get go – I loved this film! Because behind the unsophisticated behaviours of these two rather intellectual young men (they were medical students), there was something rather sweet about the way they went about their journeys. For example, they piled their motorbike full of their travelling gear, and drove it off road many a time: into ditches, into pools of water. You name it – they fell into it. I’m amazed it didn’t break down more than it did in the film (maybe it did in the book), because if I’m being frank, it looked like a croak of shit, even for back then. Regardless of the travesty they rode on, they were free to explore the great world around them. Freedom.

After visiting the girl Che wants to wait for him after his travelling exhibition, he goes from country to country with his long time friend, dancing, drinking, and trying it on with the guys. In particular, they wanted to come across sisters, and fantasized about the prospect of getting with them (and when the chance did come around, all they did was con them into giving then lots of food, drink, and shelter for the night). They were two conmen for the most part of the film – just take, take, taking from every gulible fool they encountered. They tricked people into thinking they were real professional doctors, and tried plenty of times to get free stuff from pulling that card out. At one point, they tricked a mechanic into fixing their car by showing them a fake news article of how respected they are in their profession.

But Che is the kind of guy who cannot tell a lie, and so left it to his friend to do the large portion of it. But when he did attempt the blagging, it was as if he physically couldn’t do it, and so told truths to people such as, “Your book is really badly written: full of cliché after clichés. Stick to the doctoring.” and, “It looks like a tumour.” The latter, they were trying to get a free night’s kip; the former was where the guy who let them stay at his place had asked him what he thought of his only novel, and so told him the truth. The man respected Che incredibly for this, having never had honest feedback before. And this pattern of honesty was soon to cross over into another avenue of his persona.

When Che and his friend had been through a lot of personal highs throughout their travelling, Che reached a point where he was searching for the real meaning of his trip (this seed was planted by a couple of strangers they sat by a camp fire one night). He saw the pain and poverty of the miners in Chile, and how they were being exploited to work really hard to the point they were starving (Che in fact shouted at the driver of the worker’s truck “Can’t you see these people are thirsty!?”). And the final nail in the coffin came when he came across an island where all the people being “treated” with leprosy were held, as a sort of quarantine from the world. As he was on the water, crossing over to the island by boat, he and his friend were told to put on gloves. Che questioned the validity of such a demand, and then found out that the people with leprosy weren’t contagious by touch, and it was only because the nuns on the island wanted so. Che hated this symbol of separation, of a hierarchy of clean and dirty, and so went onto the island wearing no gloves and immediately shook the hands of the lepers who were in close proximity to him. To tell you the truth, this was one of the few times in the film that I started welling up on (I don’t know why… maybe because I’m a big o’ wetty!). And on the last night there, whilst the “clean” people were on one island and the “dirty” lepers were on the other, Che decided to swim across the dangerous waters and join the lepers on his final night. They all cheered him on, and even though he was struggling due to having really bad lungs (that has caused him to need adrenaline shots before then), he bridged the gap, nonetheless. Thinking back now, the “clean” people were discouraging to do the swim, telling him he won’t make it, how he will drown and that no-one had been known to make the swim across; whereas the “dirty” people were backing him all the way, booming their support over to him as he battled his way over to them. If ever there was the perfect example of the coin of phrase ‘actions speak louder than words,’ this is it!

Oh, and come to think of it – those nuns must have hated this scallywag because he’d broken the illusion of the lepers being untouchable. Just by reaching out to them, he treated them with compassion, with real soul and humanity.

Ultimately, this film is about the self discovery of one individual’s goal in life, and how the world he saw around him – the pain, the injustice – shaped him to become the man he later became.

I laughed, I [nearly] cried, I thoroughly enjoyed this odyssey of a film and would recommend it to anyone who wants to see a good “coming of age” movie.

I give The Motorcycle Diaries:

10/10


The following I’ve just added for my own reference (copied and pasted off of Wikipedia):

Intellectual and literary interests

22-year-old Guevara in 1951

Guevara learned chess from his father and began participating in local tournaments by age 12. During adolescence and throughout his life he was passionate about poetry, especially that of Pablo Neruda, John Keats, Antonio Machado, Federico García Lorca, Gabriela Mistral, César Vallejo, and Walt Whitman.[30] He could also recite Rudyard Kipling‘s “If—” and José Hernández‘s Martín Fierro from memory.[30] The Guevara home contained more than 3,000 books, which allowed Guevara to be an enthusiastic and eclectic reader, with interests including Karl Marx, William Faulkner, André Gide, Emilio Salgari and Jules Verne.[31] Additionally, he enjoyed the works of Jawaharlal Nehru, Franz Kafka, Albert Camus, Vladimir Lenin, and Jean-Paul Sartre; as well as Anatole France, Friedrich Engels, H. G. Wells, and Robert Frost.[32]

As he grew older, he developed an interest in the Latin American writers Horacio Quiroga, Ciro Alegría, Jorge Icaza, Rubén Darío, and Miguel Asturias.[32] Many of these authors’ ideas he cataloged in his own handwritten notebooks of concepts, definitions, and philosophies of influential intellectuals. These included composing analytical sketches of Buddha and Aristotle, along with examining Bertrand Russell on love and patriotism, Jack London on society, and Nietzsche on the idea of death.Sigmund Freud‘s ideas fascinated him as he quoted him on a variety of topics from dreams and libido to narcissism and theOedipus complex.[32] His favorite subjects in school included philosophy, mathematics, engineering, political science, sociology, history and archaeology.[33][34]

Years later, a February 13, 1958, declassified CIA ‘biographical and personality report’ would make note of Guevara’s wide range of academic interests and intellect, describing him as “quite well read” while adding that “Che is fairly intellectual for a Latino.”

(source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Che_Guevara)

The Funeral – Film Review

May I simply state firstly how amazing the cast was in this Abel Ferrera Film. Not only do we have Christopher Walken in it (AKA the guy in every other film), but there’s also cats like Benicio Del Toro (saw him recently in Inherent Vice), Chris Penn (loved him in Reservoir Dogs!), Isabella Rossellini, who I thought was fantastic in Blue Velvet, and the crème de la crème – Vincent Gallo was in it, who is one of my favourite actors (I know, I’m ostentatious, but who cares?).

Let’s just crack on with the review shall we?

Johnny (Vincent Gallo) has been murdered by a mystery person. His brother’s initially think that it is the doing of the leader of their main rival gang, Gaspare (Benicio Del Toro), but then find out it is some other punk who did it, and beat him to a pulp to get him to cough up his reasons for doing so. He explains to the brother’s, Ray and Chez (Christopher Walken & Chris Penn), how he only shot him because Johnny had raped his girlfriend. They bought his confession – Johnny had a reputation with the ladies, as Chez knows (he’d recently brought home Gaspare’s wife to fornicate with) – but when Ray, the eldest brother, takes the killer to an undisclosed bit of barren land, the truth is spilled and he tells Ray that Johnny never did rape his girlfriend. Before all this came about, Ray’s wife got Ray to promise that he wouldn’t avenge the murder of his brother. But the moment was too much for him (I imagine, on the inside) and Ray fires bullets into the son-of-a-gun, sending him straight where he sent Johnny.You’d think the worst was over by then when watching this film, but then we’re brought back to the present day (the movie bounces back and forth like a yo-yo, but it’s easy to establish where we are in that moment; and boy o’ boy – this is what the whole movie has been building up towards). Devastated by his brother’s death, Chez cannot live a life without him, and with the irrationality of his uncontrollable emotions over possessing him in a moment of sheer madness, he starts to kill all the men in the house who had come to the wake, and then finally, he shoots himself in the head, holding the opening to his mouth.


Benicio is such a G!

 
…And Gallo is dead good in this film too.

You’d think the worst was over by then when watching this film, but then we’re brought back to the present day (the movie bounces back and forth like a yo-yo, but it’s easy to establish where we are in that moment; and boy o’ boy – this is what the whole movie has been building up towards). Devastated by his brother’s death, Chez cannot live a life without him, and with the irrationality of his uncontrollable emotions over possessing him in a moment of sheer madness, he starts to kill all the men in the house who had come to the wake, and then finally, he shoots himself in the head, holding the opening to his mouth.


The film goes out with a bang

This film really doesn’t get the praise it deserves. There’s a real depth to all the characters in this movie: the young, hopeful brother, Johnny, whom has a chance to escape the roots of his mobster background, having been blessed with a high intellect; Chez, the brother who has a short fuse and actually did rape someone (well, I would classify it as rape, given the way he negotiated with her. You have to see it to understand where I’m coming from). There is so much going on in what could be described as a simple story of revenge, but the bitterness of the ending only adds to the creative punch. There’s something special happening when a movie is flipped unexpectedly on it’s shell in the blink of an eye – to me that is movie making in it’s highest form: the ability to surprise your audience.

I love the raw intensity of this movie. I thought the styling of this 1930s based gangster film was genuine – I felt like I was there, amidst it all. And this film is definitely one that I want to revisit – there’s a philosophy behind this movie that I have grasped to some degree, but not enough for me to confidently put down into this review (perhaps at a later date?)


They didn’t call the film ‘The Funeral’ for nothing.

Anyway, this is a solid film, and one that I feel is definitely a buried gem, trapped in a sea of bullshit films. I can’t recommend this enough – watch it, ya fools!!

I give The Funeral:

9/10

Death Proof – Film Review

In this film review I will be tackling Death Proof – a film that had some wonderful, comedic moments, but was also tainted by overindulgent dialogue that seemed to go on… and on… and on…

And on…

I know it’s a Quentin Tarantino movie, and that’s one of the elements you’d to expect when watching one, but this film’s dialogue wasn’t that interesting if I’m being honest. Yes, it’s great listening to a group of girls talk about sex and shit (I use that word loosely – they didn’t once bring up scatology), but after a while it becomes an impotent affair.

The film is split into two acts. The first act follows a group of girls to a bar, who are soon to get killed by some weird stalker guy with a stunt car that he’s dubbed ‘death proof’. His name is Stuntman Mike (played by Kirk Russell). I wished his character was developed more: it was a bit too one-dimensional for my liking. We don’t even know why he’s stalking these girls and killing them! Sure, it hints at how he possibly gets a sexual kick out of it, but to me, the viewer, it just comes a cross as cowardly to the highest degree. I would have liked the film to have explored this avenue more, giving Stuntman Mike more depth to why he’s hell bent on killing people, using his car.

Don’t get me wrong – I did enjoy parts of this film, such as when one of the girls gave Stuntman Mike a lap dance in the bar. I liked the fact she was wearing flip flops whilst she was doing it (the director apparently has a foot fetish). Come to think of it, there is a lot of exposed feet in this flick, which tells me that this Quentin isn’t afraid to indulge in his desires, which is fine – just don’t bore me (like you did with the dialogue). It’s a shame the film didn’t keep to the tone of the latter half of the movie, because if he’d kept the tone a 100% goofy violent comedy, then this could have been [possibly] my favourite movie by him, but instead it falls short of that mark by a long way. I don’t know a lot about the back story of this, but it comes off as a rushed project, or a project with no real focused identity or vision, which is strange considering what he’s done previously and after this film.

Another scene I enjoyed in this movie what when Mike gives a blonde girl a lift home, but then tells her directly that he has no intention of doing so. That bit of dialogue there was actually very good, very Tarantinoesque (i.e. he gets the character to explain to another character that they have no option but to do as they say). I was a bit shocked by the way the girl died inside the stunt car, but I should have seen it coming really – the fact that she didn’t have a proper seat, and that there was a divider between them in the car was a bad omen (plus the fact she got in the car with a guy who had photos of the girls pinned to his pull down mirror. Creep much?

And then he does a head-on collision with the group of girls, killing them but surviving because of his ‘death proof’ car. And 14 months later, he’s at it again, stalking another group of girls. And I’m thinking, doesn’t this guy have any healthy hobbies he could pursue instead of his insatiable lust of killing groups of women? Like scrabble, for instance?

But the bully gets his comeuppance this time around, as the second group of girls manage to flip his car, and pull him out of it. They form a circle and take turns plummeting punches into his pitiful face, until one of them roundhouse kicks him to the ground. ‘The end,’ it says on the screen abruptly. I thought this was a satisfying ending as that worm of a man, Stuntman Mike, didn’t deserve to be on this earth with that sick perverted attitude of his. He was scum in a scum bucket, and thankfully the girls prevailed in the end – hurrah!

In this car chase that came before his capturing, there was some epic stunts done by the character played by Zoe Bell, in which she climbs onto the bonnet of the Dodge Challenger, using two belts that have been pinched in the car doors for balance.

Just because this film has many flaws and bores packed in it, it did still have it’s moments, and when those came up on the screen, the viewing experience was a pleasurable one. But because this is a film that couldn’t make up what kind of film it wanted to be, and could have done with about 30 minutes less of dialogue taken out, I have to award this motion piccy a fairly low score of:

6/10

Kes – Film Review

Wowee! Never has a film totally swung my opinion of it from one extreme to another like this one. At first, I thought this film was a depressing clump of autobiographical drool, a way of showing how people a few decades ago in the lower working classes have no chance in hell of amounting to anything other than what their environment presented towards them. Just look at how that job advisor gave Billy – the young boy we follow throughout this film – only two options: manual work or office work. And it’s obvious this kid doesn’t want to do any of these things, especially to work down the mine shaft (he explodes in adolescent anxieties when this is ever mentioned).

Thankfully though, there is a small glint of a light beacon in Billy’s life to escape the downtrodden life paved already for him – his pet Kestrel, which he gives the name ‘Kes’. He looks after this bird, feeding it raw meat and training it to come back to him from gradually increasing distances. There’s a bond on that screen between them, and I found this really endearing and, if I’m being frank, it warmed the cockles of my heart, as I’m sure (if you’re anything like me), you have fond memories of escapism still lurking of your childhood in the rivers of your mind. But alas, Billy has many, many life struggles he has to deal with on a regular basis: he has to share a bed with his older, mean brother, and his father left them at an earlier age, leaving his mother angry and bitter. School isn’t any much better either: he gets picked on by some of the other kids, and gets into fisticuffs with a few. And the teachers aren’t caring towards him, most of all his PE teacher, whom after losing in a football match against the kids, trapped Billy in the showers and turned the water stone cold. In fact, Billy is surrounded by cold, cold, cold, and even though he’s so young (though his face looks like he’s never had a single good night’s sleep in his life) he’s wise enough to understand the sad situation he has been born into.

There is one teacher who takes an interest in Billy’s past time of kestrel training, after hearing Billy stand before his class and give a presentation on what he does. Everybody’s ears are listening intently to what Billy has to say; and even though he is perceived as a wrong un by most, the passion that comes through when he talk about  Kes is so genuine, so beautiful, that you forget all that. And looking from the outside, looking in, I can see that Billy is just a misunderstood kid to some degree, and prejudice has shrouded his life in a bad reputation. But on the flip side, he doesn’t help himself by stealing newpapers, milk bottles, and by stealing a book on Kestrels from a shop (after being told how he can’t take a book out of the library as he is too young to without someone 21 years of age to sign for him).

But to some extent, the fact Billy can’t use the library freely, and that nobody is there to encourage him to pursue his ambitions, or to give him self-belief and direction, tells me [based on the film] that society limits our desire, but breeds our miseries, depending on the environment we come from. It’s restrictive to free spirits, and Billy is an example of someone who is almost ashamed to tell the world that he wants to not work as a typical manual worker or office worker, but follow his desire and his love of kestrel training. He never does say this though, but it’s so god damn obvious to the viewer that he never has to.

And this is what changed my mind about Kes the film as I thought about more and more, as I lay in bed, thinking about what I’d just watched hours earlier. I’ll admit right now that I’d been a bit tired after having a long day doing nothing, so was drifting in and out of a state of half sleep as I watched the first 20 minutes of the film, but after that it really broke the spell and gained my complete attention. The realism of this story is what shocked me, and the whole film makes profound sense by the very last scene, where Billy finds his Kes had been killed by his older brother out of spite. He brings the Kestrel’s corpse into the house (finding it in the garbage bin), and swings it’s lifeless, limp body around the room, showing his brother and mother the damage done. The damage being his shattered dreams, and how his pessimistic background, environments, and the structured expectancy of society has closed Billy up like a clam who is unable to show the world the pearl he holds inside; and now that pearl, that glimmer of hope, has been eradicated by those closest to him.

At first, I just thought that this was a reflection on the director’s own pessimistic outlook, but then I did a teeny-weeny bit of research and found that the story had been adapted from a novel. Okay, so it’s possible for two people to share the same ideology, but then I found my father (he was watching the film with me) saying how this was exactly how his childhood was. And then it hit me, after putting together all the snippets of stories he’d told me of his own youth throughout the years, how he wasn’t lying. And if I take it a step further, I can see the correlations of this story in my own life, in my own generation of a lower class society, and how this effects the way we all approach life on a mental level. The old saying ‘crabs in a bucket’ comes in to play here – how nobody in your class necessarily want to see you climb out of the circumstances you’ve inherited, and this film demonstrates three levels of that: the class of family, the school class, and the work class. And everybody I know has a hobby/a ‘Kes’ they use to vacate their minds from the stresses of life, and how we all need a rope of hope to keep our positivity alive for greater things. I’m not saying hope is an illusion, no way – hope is a necessity, because without it, you’re doomed to the gloom around you. Yet it all just depends what lenses you view life through, because it’s all out there – a spectrum of good and evil –  and it’s all a matter of perception, how you see things. In a strange way, this film Kes is a rather hopeful story, even though on the surface it’s depressing as shit, because it can be used as the perfect allegory of how you should never let anyone tell you what you should and shouldn’t do with your life (or at least bow down to it). You’ve got to fight for what you want, and that mostly happens on a mental level, whereby you have to tough it out and proclaim to those around you, and the world, that this is who I am, and this is what I want to be and how I want to spend my life. Because after all, this is your life we are talking about here.

Part of me wants to watch his again, just in case I missed something. But I feel it’s save enough for me to reward this film what I’m about to award it, seeing as it transcends the experience of most films for me (it’s always a good sign when a film gets you thinking about it, long after you’ve watched it – all my favourite films do that to me).

I give this film (for the meantime): 9/10

Fargo – Season 1, Episode 8 (Review)

Molly – hospital. Lester – back to work. Lorne – Fargo. That’s where we left off from the last episode. This is what happened in the following…

Have you watched eppy 8 yet? No? Well, park your tush down, push that remote control button, and watch that shit. Then come back here, with popcorn, for the real entertainment. Okay, well, I’ll try my hardest to review this anyways. I promise…

A quick recovery later, and Molly is back in the police station, ready for work. She presents the Sheriff her giant board diagram, showing how Lester is indeed the killer, but he’s not interested. The Sheriff instead gets annoyed and frustrated with her, telling her to just let it go and move on as the case had been wrapped up, with Lester’s brother being convicted of the murders. To me this felt like a subtextual (is that a word?) way of saying, ‘It doesn’t matter if we got the man or not, as long as someone fits the bill.’ Subtle hints of corruption there from the Sheriff, methinks. And to top it off, he mentions to her, after the rant, that they’ve brought in a cake for her, to celebrate the return of her. I really feel for Molly, because she seems to be the only one who is doing what an honest cop should be doing: fighting for justice. Granted, she is maybe a little bit obsessed with it, but I respect that kind of determination. It’s just like it said on Lester’s poster in his basement: “What if you’re right, and they’re wrong?”

Outside of the hospital room where Mr Wretch is bed bound, an officer guards the door. He makes his way to the bogs to take a wizz, but doesn’t actually make it out alive. Why? Because from the cubicle behind him, Lorne appears, with a leather choking device: he slings it over the officer’s neck, leans forward, waits until he finishes his dance of death, then drops him on the floor. I must add that in reality, this would obviously never happen because all the guy would have to do to escape the choke-hold would be to shift his body weight to one size, and he would simply roll off of Lorne’s back. Saying that, Lorne would still have finished him off in the toilets (not in that way, you perv!) as he is one heck of a mofo psychopath.

Lorne, carrying his man bag (okay, that was a tad dark. Soz…)

Back in Mr Wretch’s hospital room, we find Lorne by his bedside. He tells Wretchy that it was him who killed his partner, Mr Numbers (remember – he slit his throat in the snow). Mr Wretch has an angry fit of rage, but can’t reach Lorne as he’s been handcuffed to the metal bed railings. He is told by Lorne how lucky he is to be alive. Personally, I see this moment as a way of Lorne showing how helpless Wrenchy is (ie, he can kill him whenever, wherever with no problem whatsoever) and is a subtly suggestion for him to work for him. He offers a helping hand by leaving the key to unlock the handcuffs on his chest, and exits.

Back in Mr Wretch’s hospital room, we find Lorne by his bedside. He tells Wretchy that it was him who killed his partner, Mr Numbers (remember – he slit his throat in the snow). Mr Wretch has an angry fit of rage, but can’t reach Lorne as he’s been handcuffed to the metal bed railings. He is told by Lorne how lucky he is to be alive. Personally, I see this moment as a way of Lorne showing how helpless Wrenchy is (ie, he can kill him whenever, wherever with no problem whatsoever) and is a subtly suggestion for him to work for him. He offers a helping hand by leaving the key to unlock the handcuffs on his chest, and exits.

Gina, Hess’s widow, comes storming into the Insurance Company that Lester works in, along with her two dimwitted sons. She’s pissed at him, giving Lester a piece of her mind as she now knows he conned her to get a bit of nookie. Lester acts innocent (as per usual) and says that this is news to him to: that Hess’s life insurance policy is null and void. This of course, is baloney, and Lester’s hot Asian-American co-worker had to witness their threatening behaviour towards him. But, this is a new Lester, lest we not forget – as the two sons come threateningly close to him, he staples them in the face with a staple gun. They whimper out of the building, all three of them with their tails between their legs.


Gina, telling Lester some stuff her sons probably didn’t want to hear

But it’s not all bad for Lester: he’s got an admirer in his insurance co-worker, oh – and he’s gone and bought himself a new washer! One that doesn’t sound like a cacophony of insanity.

Silence is Golden

And a year later, he is made Saleman of the year. Who’da-funk it?

The obvious choice

Did I say a ‘year’ later? I should explain, shouldn’t I? Nahhhh… oh, alright then (I feel guilt)…

Gus, the officer who shot Molly, sends her flowers to her when she’s in her dad’s diner. This is to show us that he’s definitely trying to woe her now (the tables have turned – it was Molly attracting him at the start). Then we see him, in his police car parked in a layby, using a speedometer to record how fast passing cars are going. But he’s also chatting merrily and freely to someone on the walkie talkie (do police call them that?). And no, it must definitely wasn’t his daughter whom he was speaking to. The camera pans left, into the empty road, and then we see him driving down it in a mail van. Gus has become a mailman, just like he said he dreamed of being when he was a boy, and we our told that this is now one year into the future. A massive jump I thought, but it makes sense – it shows us how Molly and Gus are now an item, and how Lester as completely gone off the cop’s radar. Except Molly, whom is now pregnant, and is waddling around in her bedroom, with the diagram still filling one of the walls. Still Obsessed much, Mol?

The two cops who Lorne passed by in Fargo when he done all them killings, have been stuck in the filing room for over a year now – they can thank their boss for that. One of them is throwing a tennis ball ala Jack Torrance style against the wall, and accidentally knocks a big picture off. This is serendipity, as lurking behind it is a blurred CCTV picture of Lorne Malvo, walking pass their car, in Fargo, a year ago. This is the guy that kept them stuck in the filing room (where no-one goes). This is the guy who’s made them workably-redundant. This is the guy they must track down and bring to justice, to restore their status in the ranks of the police force. If only Molly knew what was just happening in that filing room…

The episode concludes with Lester, turning around at the bar, and seeing Lorne at a table in the corner, laughing it up with three others and some drinks. He looks utterly shocked to see him as he hasn’t seen him in over a year. Yes, this is a bit far fetched – how can they be in the same room in a Las Vegas bar? I guess I’ll have to wait until the next episode to find out why Lorne is there.


Lorne, now with the appearance of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s doopelganger

Fargo – Season 1, Episode 7 (Review)

When you went to school, do you remember how you would always take along with you your backpack? Well, I did anyway. And when you had your backpack, wouldn’t you of checked what was inside of it before going to school, just to make sure you have everything for the day ahead? Well, it turns out Lester’s brother’s son doesn’t do that. And as a result, a gun slides out of his bag and onto the floor of his classroom. What a doughnut!

Because of this youngster’s lack of academic organisation, the police get involved in the matter. They get a search warrant to turn Lester’s brother’s house upside down, leaving the wife in all sorts of bother. He gets a phone call from his missus to get his sorry ass back outta work, and to come home. He panics – they’ll find my gun locker in the basement, and the illegal one too. And as he arrives, that is just what they are doing. And then the twist: a pair of knickers, a bloody hammer, and a saucy photo of Lester’s wife. His own wife flips out, slaps him in emotional outrage, but he just stands there, looking stunned. How could that of got there? Have I been set up? Answer: yes you have matey.

He must have an inkling whom has done the dirty on him. LESTER!!! It’s got to be – recently, he disowned him to his face, whilst he sat on his hospital bed; and with the quagmire Lester is in, it made sense to a degree to sabotage his unloving bro. I’m not justifying Lester’s actions – I’m just saying he’s gotta do what he’s gotta do, and jail ain’t the place for a skinny pretty boy like him. (Saying that, neither is it suitable for his brother. Oh well…)

The Sheriff brings Lester into the police station to ask him a few questions about his brother and his dead wife; primarily: were they having an affair? Lester, sincere as Mother Teresa, tells that this is exactly what happened. He puts on the brave, tormented face of a man exposing a deep family secret, and the Sheriff eat it up like cake on sale at a closing down cake shop. Nom nom nom…


Lester, at the police station, practising for his late night poker next July

He leaves the station, passing by his brother who is locked behind bars. When he hears him yell out his name, Lester smirks to himself, and exits. He’s bad to the bone, I tells ya.


He ain’t heavy – he’s in prison

Now that Lester thinks he’s in the clear, he finally rings for the cleaning service to come and clear the murder mess. FINALLY!! – that shit had been bugging me from the very beginning. I wondered: are they allowed to leave a crime scene like this? Why haven’t the police dealt with it on behalf of Lester, whom they’d all of thought was in a ‘vulnerable’ state of mind? And why ain’t the floor covered in flies and maggots? (I concluded that this is probably ’cause it’s so cold up in that town, that no flies wanna breed in such cold temperatures. Either that, or I’m talking outta my derriere and have totally forgotten that this is indeed a TV show.) And when Lester gets through to them on the phone, they hang up at the mere mention of the word ‘blood’. Hilarious! The police gave him that number and they chickened out. What a joke!

So what about Molly and Lorne – I’ve talked about Lester so much that I’d completely neglected the other two main characters. Well, I guess that’s because Lester’s part of the story here contains the bulk of the story, but nevertheless, I must do a quick shout out to those two. I’ll start with good-golly-miss Molly…

After perforating Molly’s spleen with an unintended bullet, the city officer, Gus Grimly, comes to her hospital bedside with a bundle of flowers. He apologies immensely, and tells her that he’s going to lose his badge because of this blunder. She tells him to stop talking nonsense, and that he’s not going to get fired. He leaves the room, passing by her father, whom seems less than impressed by him (well, I thought so).

Molly, with her IV drip and stand, then goes into the hospital room where Mr Wretch – the deaf guy – is. She tells him that his partner, Mr Numbers is dead. He’s devastated. Molly then hands him a small white board so he can communicate with her. I had to laugh because she’d been speaking to him all that time before then, and then asks him if he can lip read. Of course he can, you utter numpty. Christ Sake!  Anywho, where was I… so Molly mentions the name Lorne Malvo, and Mr Wretch knows exactly what she’s talking about. Molly thinks she’s onto something here, and she’s right to think so.

Because flowers are always enough after shooting someone in the spleen

Molly, with her IV drip, then goes into the hospital room where Mr Wretch – the deaf guy – is. She tells him that his partner, Mr Numbers is dead. He’s devastated. Molly then hands him a small white board so he can communicate with her. I had to laugh because she’d been speaking to him all that time before then, and then asks him if he can lip read. Of course he can, you utter numpty. Christ Sake!  Anywho, where was I… so Molly mentions the name Lorne Malvo, and Mr Wretch knows exactly what he’s talking about. Molly thinks he’s onto something here. And he’s right to think so (for once in his trigger happy life).

Meanwhile, in a place by the name Fargo, Lorne strolls past the police with a fat off gun in his hands, and kills all the people in the building they were watching. We don’t see any of the shooting as the camera stays on the outside of the building, but follows him up floor by floor. At the top floor, a guy comes flying out of the window, and onto the pavement. The police finally realise, and backup is called. And as they’re all waiting outside for the killer to come out, Lorne, from the side, walks away from the scene, and down the street.

That’s about all folks! The only other thing that springs to mind is Lester going to Hess’s window’s house and shafting silly (literally and metaphorically, as he is also lying to her). But I guess, seeing as Hess shafted him all those years in the playground – by that, I mean he bullied him – and Lester is in the clear, it seems like he just doesn’t care anymore. She’s still going to struggle to get her insurance though – Hess didn’t finish paying the premiums on his life insurance, so… nil dollars exactly will be the payout. Lester doesn’t care either way, hence the lying to her. In fact, Lester has become an almost Lorne prodigy character in the making. He may not have killed as many people, but he’s definitely got the warped mindset now. I guess that’s what happens when you expose yourself to too many professional killers – it rubs off on you.


If you’re thinking about what Lester’s looking at, it’s the family portrait he just made fall off the wall with the power of his… enthusiasm

Fargo – Season 1, Episode 6 (Review)

The rabbit hole of descent deepens much more for Lester. Waking up in his hospital bed, he is straight away disowned by his brother, who thinks he has something to do with the murders as there is a policeman guarding his door. As the bro leaves, Lester is suspicious as to why there is an officer of the law stood waiting outside his room in the ward. It clicks – they must of found out more information. They must have found out from the nurses that he had a gunshot pellet imbedded in his hand. They must wanna interrogate him more. Drat! Fiddlesticks! He’s well and truly buggered now, isn’t he? So what is Lester supposed to do about the pickle he is in (and lemme tell you – this is a helluva pickle). The answer: he sneaks out the hospital, and back to his home. How does he do this? Well, he dresses up like the fully bandage-faced guy in the bed next to him, and throws that dude under his bed covers (making sure to hide his face), and gets into that guy’s bed. The nurse comes in and moves his bed out of the room, into the hallway, and leaves him there. Now is when Lester makes a break for it, and manages to escape without a trace.


Brotherly love.

But where does he go? What does he have in mind? Dear Lester heads back to his house, past the patch of dried blood in his lounge (just call the specialist cleaners, man) and down into the basement. He notices that the washer-dryer had been moved [by Molly]. But he doesn’t move closer to it – instead, he stands next to the poster which he head butted to knock himself out that (un)faithful day, and pulls it down slightly. Behind the poster, there is a hole in the plasterboard where he had whacked his nogging, and inside the hole is the evidence-in-the-making: the claw hammer Lester used to kill his wife. He then breaks into his younger brother’s house. He plants the hammer in his gun locker, in the basement, along with a pair of his dead wife’s panties, and a picture of his dead wife, scantily clad (the perv!). Lester then sees a picture on the locker of his brother, posing with his wife and son. Instead of feeling guilty and taking back the stuff which he’d planted, he goes into the son’s room, and plants a gun into his school bag. Unbelievable! Lester walks down the stairs, and the son and him see eye-to-eye (he thought no-one was in the house). And the boy doesn’t even seem that bothered. This scene had me cracking up – one of the funnily moments in the series. But to tell you the truth, for a crime show, there’s a lot of them to choose from.


It’s hammer time (again)

Now that Lester is sure the evidence had not been taken, he slips back into his hospital room, switches the man in his bed back into his own, and plonks himself back in it. Someone enters the room, exits, and the most sinister smile of hurrah is etched onto Lester’s face – he thinks he’s gotten away with it. He can still make up more B.S to the police as the have nothing on him, just clues, nothing more.

Lester’s smug shot (later to be his mug shot… so I’m predicting)

So that’s the main portion of this episode covered. What else happens? I shall tell you…

Stavros caves in to the blackmailer’s demands of the 1 million dollars. Lorne, the guy who’s working for him but is also secretly the blackmailer, gets his Turkish friend to speak to Stavros into the phone with instructions as to where to place the money (he uses a device to hide the identity of his phone when on the phone). The Turkish friend is the guy who has been doing the majority of Lorne’s dirty work – supplying him with locust to flood Stavros’s Phoenix Farms shop, the uppers to keep the poor bastard awake all these days, and basically making sure shit gets biblical on his ass. But this friend of Lorne asks for too much – he wants 60% of the million share – and instead, Lorne decides to strap him to a chair, tape a gun to his hands, and let the police shoot him. Serves him right – you should never be too greedy, specially when dealing with a psychopath.


And now you get zero dollars.

Going back to where it all began for him in 1987, Stavros plants the windscreen scraper into the ground, by the wire fence, so that Lorne can find the bag of 1 mil. buried underneath it in the thick snow.

Speaking of snow – man! didn’t it just blizzard like mad near the end of the ep. I mean, they could hardly see a thing. I’m talking about the scene where Mr Numbers and Mr Wretch sandwich Lorne’s car with their own, then start going all guns blazing at him. Lorne runs into the snow fog, and tricks Mr Numbers into going into a wooden building. He does this by slicing the back of his hand, and leading him by a trail of red on the floor (smart if you ask me… but bonkers lets not forget). Mr Number’s number is finally up as Lorne slits his throat, and leaves him gurgling on his own blood, face down in the snow. It’s hard to say where his silent friend, Mr Wretch, has gone to, as we don’t see him after that. But the city officer and Molly quickly come onto the scene and find the three abandoned cars. For one reason or another, they lose sight of each other, and when the city officer sees a body in the fog approaching him, his automatic instinct is to shoot that threat to the ground. He wishes he didn’t, for whom he shot is none other than Molly (i.e. the guy’s an idiot, in my opinion.)


Oh no he didn’t.

So what will happen in the 7th episode? Will Molly live after being shot by an incompetent officer? What will Mr Wretch do after finding his partner has been killed? Does Lorne collect his money with ease, or will something get in his way? And how will Lester worm himself out of this one?

Oh, and one more thing: as Serj Tankian said in a song – “Don’t forget the fish!”…


The day of reckoning is finally over for Stavros (it only cost him a million, and some sleep)


There’s something fishy going on up in Minnesota.

Fargo – Season 1, Episode 5 (Review)

Kicking the fifth eppy off, we have a sequence of events, exposing to us – the beloved audience – how Lester got the shotgun. BTW – he got it in a sport’s shop. It was funny how he got suckered into buying it as well: the store owner told him to make an offer for the ‘random socks’ – there was a table full of bagged assorted socks, and some of them were men’s, some women’s, and the guy couldn’t tell Lester which were which, or if either bag contained male and female socks (well I found it funny!). Lester offers him 3 dollars, 4… 5 dollars, and then the store keeper, who is frankly unamused by his pitiful offers, tells him “I’ll give it to you for 50, and I’ll throw in that here shotgun in for free, and some bullet”. That was a paraphrase – I can’t remember exactly his words – I’m not an audible Rainman damn it!


I call shotgun…

So what else happened? Oh yeah – Lester is in the jail cell, ain’t he? That’s where the last eppy finished off last time. And Lester ain’t looking too great. He’s sweating like a mutha fucka, like he’s eaten the world’s hotist chilli, like he just had the runs, like… you get the gist. You know why he’s in this bad way, don’t you: he’s trapped in the cell with the deaf guy and his bearded friend (I should really try and remember their names, shouldn’t I? Nah – F it!). And the bearded one gets all the details out of Lester that he needs – more specifically, he gets the name of the person Lester knows who killed their late boss, Hess. One name: Lorne Malvo. Or at least, he thinks that’s his name (he’s right, the spineless grass!) The two man motley crew leave Lester (they got bailed out), and Lester starts having flashbacks of the recent events – flickering, tramatic events.


Please don’t hurt me.

The sheriff and Deputy Molly come to visit Lester in jail, but he can’t respond to them on the accounts that he’s having flashbacks, and is not [himself] personally present in the room – only his body. They rush him to the hospital in an ambulance, like good law abiding officers. Molly, in the back with Lester, is a crafty bugger, and tries to weed information out of Lester – she’s taking advantage of his whacked out state of mind, and is trying to get him to confess to some shit. And at the hospital, he finds out from the nurse that Lester had a shotgun pellet lodged in his hand, and that’s why it was all puffy, gross, and infected. I like how, in the beginning of that scene, how the vending machine gobbled up her change. I hate it when that happens. I remember when that happened to me, ages ago mind you, and then I kicked the machine, and then the chocolate bar came tumbling out of to the bottom; and when I unwrapped that Cadbury’s Dairy Milk (other choco bars at available – visit your local newsagents for some proof) the chocolate had congealed. It wasn’t the best chocolate I’ve even bitten into. I still remember it, which it weird; but what’s even weirder is how I’ve rambled on a tad too much on a relevant subject, and a negligible one at that. If you’re reading this (and you’ll know if you have, because you would have just done so)…. I’m so sorry. Not…

I’ll leave you on a little bugbear I had on this episode: why-o-why did Deputy Molly leave the back of Lester’s washer-dryer open? He managed to open it up, hoping to find evidence (soz Mol – he moved that hammer), but she never bothered to leave it like it was. It’s like she wants Lester to know she broke into his house whilst he was in hospital. Oh, and another thing – who leaves the key under their outside doormat, Lester? Jesus Christ – make it easy for the criminal/criminal policelady why don’t ya. Okay, rant over – tune in tomorz, or the next day, when I write more bollock on something I’ve recently scene on the screen that I like to term “the moving painting on the wall downstairs. Peace mofo!


God damn it, Molly!

Fargo – Season 1, Episode 4 (Review)

How FAR can this murder mystery GO, that is the question; and no – I’m not shakespere. I am a BEAR – check out my username: bearfilmreview. Read it! Read it again. And now stare at it. Let it burn into your retina until when you blink and look away, staring at your BEAR/bare walls all around your room, all your see is that word. And it is a word because there are no spaces! Okay, that’s enough insanity – let’s crack on with another review instalment of the Fargo series…

For the opening scene, we travel back to 1987, down the snowbound road of yesterday, in the sleepy outskirts of the sleepy town in Minnesota. A car breaks down. In the car is a younger version of Stavros. His wife is not please and is pissed, thinking her baby son is going to freeze to death. A truck drives towards their vechile, and Stavros flails his arms about in the road to get it’s attention. The darn driver just drives past, sounding his horn. How horrid!

But wait! What’s that Stavos can see in the distance, by the metal fence? What is that sticking out from the snow, he wonders. Walking up to it, he pulls the thing out from the ground, then discovers that there is a bag containing a bank-full of money in there. He gets back in the car and goes, “There really is a god.”


Jesus-Mary-Mother-of-God – It’s MOAN-EE!! (circa 1987)

By chance, the policeman in the different branch to Molly (soz – I forget his name. So sue me. Actually, don’t – I’m poor) stumbles upon Lorne on one of his drives. Lorne immediately comes his hair to the side, buttons up his shirt, and takes on the innocent, minister identity. You know – the identity he stole when he unravelled that parcel in the post office.

At the police station, he gets interrogated by that police officer’s boss (turns out, the police officer is only in charge of pet patrol) and the sheriff, aka Molly’s boss. Deputy Molly was meant to be the one who the officer wanted to come over to his branch, but being the big mouth she is, Molly tells all about what’s just happened to the Sheriff, and he not likely that, nuh-uh.

When I say “interrogated”, what I mean is – neither cop was smart enough to call the “minister’s” bluff, and soon enough, let him off the hook. I loved the unshapely glasses on his head too, and the smile he gives the officer through the interrogation viewing window was priceless. And so was the fact the officer said exactly what Lorne had predicted he would say (but at the time, in the cop car, it seemed like a threat).


Innocent…

And then there’s Lester. Poor old Lester – the deaf guy and his friend/interpretor (but slowly becoming less and less a friend by the minute), capture him on the street. They merely, nonchalantly piled Lester into the bootof their car, and then drive off. Whilst in the boot, he rings up his younger brother, but then bails on him and tells him that the story he’d just told him was a complete fabrication and a prank. Lester did this because he was afraid his brother was about to call the police.

Remember where the fat office man got dumped? Well, we return to that patch of ice land (no, not the shop – right Peter?) and this time, it’s Lester’s turn to freeze in the chilly waters. But Lester, being resourceful as he is, stole his brother’s taser from the basement. And when the bearded fellow isn’t paying complete attention, he stuns him with his stun gun. And the deaf one, drilling the hole in the ground doesn’t hear him because: A. he’s deaf, and B. yup, you guessed it – he’s DEAF (caps lock on, in case you didn’t hear that). Lester runs through the dense woods, and onto a road, where a policeman was investigating an abandoned car. Lester wants a lift into town to get away from the guys who think he killed Hess (which, as we know, was Lorne’s doing – he put a knife into the back of his head as he was banging so pole dancer/hooker in the backroom of a strip club). He resorts to punching the cop on his conk, and then the policeman (a dozy one, at that) has to now arrest him. 


It’s taser time

And the episode concludes with the deaf guy and his bearded chum, scrapping in a bar, and getting thrown in jail. And who happens to be in the cell with them? Why of course, it had to be Lester. Poor sod.