Tuesday, July 06, 2010
A few months back I saw Russian Ark by Aleksandr Sokurov and it blew me away. Now The Sun is available via Netflix, and it's an equally impressive film. We follow Japan's emperor Hirohito as the Americans bomb his cities and his deification is increasingly in doubt. The film is claustrophobic and mysteriously quiet. Hirohito sticks to his schedule despite the unravelling of his world: he studies marine biology, he writes haiku, he tries to understand his fate. Issei Ogata's performance is remarkable. The Sun features one of cinema's greatest dream sequences, itself worth the price of admission.
Compared to Letters from Iwo Jima or The Changeling, Invictus is a light and morally unambiguous tale. But though it follows a fairly standard sports script, Invictus is well-wrought and we get to watch Morgan Freeman inhabit a truly generous and hopeful icon of the late 20th century. His performance is note-worthy, as it nearly always is, but don't ignore Matt Damon's strong turn as the captain of South Africa's Springbok rugby team, enlisted by their new president to give all his country's citizens something to root for.
As far as I'm concerned, Clint Eastwood can continue making films every six months until he's 100 years old, and I will continue to look forward to them.