This movie was surprisingly good. I'd heard since it came out in theatres over the summer that it was worth watching, but I remained wary. After all, for some reason, people think the new War of the Worlds
is worth watching. Therefore, people's opinions are suspect. It didn't help my hesitation to watch the movie when I discovered it was a full 2 hours long. I don't have the longest attention span in the world, and lately I've been very moody and had a tendency to change my mind every couple of seconds, particularly about what I want to watch. But, I finally made myself sit down and watch this today with the condition that I could (and would) do some work while watching. And, no work actually got done because, wow. Just, wow. I laughed, I cried, I had to think. It was intense, but had humour worked in and not an overwhelming humour, it flowed.
Its a large cast with a lot of very different people. Some of whom tend to play only certain type of roles or not successfully play roles at all. But, because of the style of the movie, that didn't happen. I got into the roles of the characters themselves in the overall plot. There were so many people that it seems there should be one primary lead character who everyone else interacts with, after all, thats how most movies are. But this movie was more like life. Everyone had a role to play, some more important than others. Some characters got more screen time than others, but all seemed to want you to root for them. To me, it was like watching a sliver of life. It all centered around one event that opened and closed the movie, but not everyone was involved. In some ways you could say it was like six degrees of separation. Everyone was somehow connected to the event, but mostly only through other people. And each connection was its own story.
To me, the most powerful story was from the only character who seemed really and truly good. He was a latino locksmith. And everyone assumed things about him, but the next time you saw him he was home with his five-year old daughter, soothing her fears and giving her confidence for her life. He gave her an impenetrable cloak. And in a testament to her love and faith in her father, she truly believed in it. Leading to a scene that made me cry. And I do not cry at movies. (It wasn't much of a cry, but still, there were tears and from me, that is something.) But that little girl makes me think --- so much innocence and faith in a child. Where does that all go? (But that is beside the point of this review and just something to think about.)
I guess in a way the other characters all demonstrate that loss of faith. Though really, they demonstrate just.. life. And the racism that exists in life, even in those who are convinced that they are unlike everyone else and aren't racist. But it doesn't beat you over the head with it, it does it artfully. You feel their pain, or can if you let yourself.
The movie opened with a line spoken by the most central character of the film and to me, that line summarizes this movie:
"It's the sense of touch. In any real city, you walk, you know? You brush past people, people bump into you. In LA, nobody touches you. We're always behind this metal and glass. I think we miss that touch so much, that we crash into each other, just so we can feel something."
All in all, I would say go see it. I'm not sure I'll ever watch it again because it might ruin the first impression. But the images and feelings of this movie will haunt me for a while.