January 22nd, 2010 by Magnus
Imagine, if you will, my sheer unbridled glee at being handed this assignment, to catch a new Werner Herzog movie! Me and Werner go way back, beginning with Fitzcarraldo. Here is a man who picks highly explosive, Quixotic characters who put themselves and everyone around them through mind bending hell on their quest for their own personal holy grail, and Werner gives them free rein to eviscerate themselves for our entertainment. Werner is not everyone’s cup o‘ tea, mind you, but I dig his aesthetic largely.
Now, imagine, if you will, how dumbfounded I became when I’m walking into the theater and the greeter tells me this is a David Lynch production! I could barely contain my enthusiasm… Finally, I am going to be challenged by the celluloid, rather than being slapped in the face with a dead rotting fish and insulted, like I was by the last attempts of both Eastwood and Jackson, of which I covered both for the Daze. After those two miserable excuses for film making I needed this like a junkie with a pocketful of money knocking on the door of his reputable and reliable dealer.
This film, a crime drama, stars Willem Dafoe, Chloe Sevigny, Michael Shannon, Grace Zabriskie and Udo Keir (with a great cameo by Brad Dourif), and is based on a true story, but between the capable folk in charge here we get something quite surreal in the process that never sacrifices or sullies the ongoing narrative. A brilliant mix of style and composition, the marriage of these two auteurs is awesome to behold. I was transfixed from start to finish, wondering just what in the hell was gonna happen next, satisfied as well as bewildered at every crook and turn.
The musical score, by Ernst Reijseger, is not to be believed. It seemingly never stops the entire film, lending an already phantasmagorical set of scenes a twist of nonsense and raw emotion that keeps the deadpan delivery of this movie percolating right along. Brilliant choice, this.
Warning: THIS MOVIE ISN’T FOR EVERYONE!!!
Art lovers, however, will rejoice!
Finally, a movie that is well worthy of an investment in time. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it, and I’m sure will continue to do so for the next few days, too; a true mark of a movie well done.
What can I say, but by all means…
Thank you Herr Lynch and Herzog. A collaboration that lives up to your hype.