Sunday, November 11, 2012

Rashomon effect

Half a truth is often a great lie.

—Benjamin Franklin

Three films follow three men, all of whom share a talent for manipulating the truth.

In Flight, Denzel Washington portrays pilot Whip Whitaker who is lauded as hero after crash landing his failing jet, suffering only a few fatalities. That is not a spoiler, not even the meat of the story.  Director Robert Zemekis seems most interested in character study, as in the old adage, 'character is how you behave when no one is watching.'  Of course, as the audience, we are always watching Whip struggle with his decisions, impulses and view of reality.

The poster says everything: only one character looks so at ease in a gun scope, that's James Bond. 

In Skyfall, Daniel Craig plays Bond (my favorite actor in the franchise), so it doesn't much matter to me that the villain is played by Javier Bardem and the director  is Sam Mendes.  Skyfall, in requisite Bond film fashion, has the baddie spending all his time and personal fortune with a well-armed toady brigade, demolishing buildings and property in several international cities, underscored by an insatiable desire to rid the world of 007.  Despite Bond being an elite spy, breaking into hotels and homes, stealing documents, and every type of vehicle, bedding a bevy of women and generally wreaking havoc wherever he goes, he's always quick to reveal his true name! 
*Sigh*  Now that's entertainment!

Daniel Day-Lewis brings life and soulfulness to Abraham Lincoln, our American president mythologized throughout the 147 years following his assassination in 1865.  In Steven Spielberg's film Lincoln, the ever-wise and impressively calm leader is hard-pressed to end the Civil War, while also pushing his 13th Amendment (that abolished slavery) through Congress.  Lincoln manages his opponents, constituents, cabinet members and political operatives with firm directives and folksy wisdom, sharing anecdotes and tales that are sometimes puzzling, and on one occasion drives a colleague away while shaking his head and muttering, "I can't tolerate another story!"

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