Monday, September 11, 2006

Movie review: "House of D"

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As others noted in reviews, this is a story about coming to terms, coming to terms with old friends, old lovers, even strangers, but most of all - of course - coming to terms with one's own self. This movie delivers - give me a drumroll please - without undue drama! Without posturing, (too many) cliches, without trying to jerk a tear out of your lacrimal glands no-matter-what-the-price.

Other reviews seem mixed and a lot could be said about the acting (which was fine in my opinion, genuine and pleasantly "amateur"-ish in the literal sense of love for the art), the setting (great cinematography and directing transport the viewer to New York in the 70s and immerse the audience into the everyday life back when a nightly bicycle ride through the Park was still possible, pleasant, safe) but this movie's greatest strength is the script.

It's a simple story and it is well told. There are no fabulously rich brats and no suffering underdogs who come up on top in the end. There are no car chases, gunshots, explosions and there are no overemotional men and women engaged in all kinds of romantic dramata. It is a simple story about a boy, a boy who has to go away before he can come back. And his poor mama knew - it's all right, boys have to do that. So watch, travel along with Tommy, run away with him to learn how to walk - and dance. And enjoy.

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Other reviews and commentators have not touched the script, which I consider the main strength of this film. David Duchovny surprises (me at least) with a story so straight and simple and yet so deep and touching. You will be treated with some good writing, perhaps not a masterpiece but a welcome breath after too much Dan Brown. Expect to cry a little - not because of some great misfortune, not because of heart rending drama. Expect to shed a few tears when you recognise the face in the mirror as your mother. Expect to cry when it is you under the bed, praying for your own safety and that of your parents. Expect finally to sigh a little and well up when it turns out your friends are still out there and they remember you. And your momma was right. And your dad, beneath it all, was the kindest, softest person in the world.

Duchovny uses symbols and words masterfully at times to convey simply and realistically what is most difficult to convey: emotions. And yes, the movie ends on an up note, it has a happy ending. Why not? It's ok every now and then to feel a little warmth in your heart.

1 comment:

Zanzibarz said...

Exactly! The writing! Finally somebody gets it; none of the critics seemed to get it.
The writing floored me. It kicked me in the gut & stomped me on the head. Then, it half-nelsoned me.
I tend to notice writing, good or bad, more than anything else in film & TV. One of my all-time favorite TV scenes was this X-Files scene Duchovny wrote for the episode "The Unnatural:"
Scully: Mulder, this is a needle in a haystack. These poor souls have been dead for 50 years. Let them rest in peace. Let sleeping dogs lie.
Mulder: Well I won't sit idly by while you hurl cliches at me; preparation is the father of inspiration.
Scully: Necessity is the mother of invention.
Mulder: The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom.
Scully: East, sleep and be merry for tomorrow we die.
Mulder: I scream, you scream, we all scream for nonfat tofutti rice dreamsicle.
I can't wait to see what he writes next. I'd rather see a new film written/directed by him much more than an X-Files 2 movie.