Best films I failed to see in 2012! – Update

Best Films I failed to see in 2012! – Update

Breaking news folks…

I have now watched two of the films featured in my earlier post Oscars 2013 Part Two – Best Films 2012 – (Films I still haven’t watched yet!)

So I thought I’d share my views on two of the best films I failed to see in 2012.

1. Lawless

Lawless is based on a book The Wettest County in the World (renamed Lawless). The book was based on a true story and written by Matt Bondurant, the grandson of Jack Bondurant, one of the main characters.

The screenplay itself was written by Nick Cave.  Yes, that Nick Cave, the slightly unnerving musician and former love interest of a certain Miss Kylie Minogue.  Apparently Cave also wrote the screenplay for The Proposition.

I’d describe this film as a cross between a classic western and Boardwalk Empire.  Its set during prohibition in a small town in Virginia, USA.  The Bondurants are portrayed as the friendly neighbourhood bootleggers, who manufacture and sell moonshine to the local population.

The premise of the story is that the authorities roll into town and want a cut of the Bonduarnts profits.  The authorities appear to be linked to some kind of mafia style gangsters, and send Special Deputy Rakes (played by Guy Pearce) in to ensure the Bondurants and other local bootleggers play ball.

The rest of the film is about the struggle for supremacy between the Bondurants and the dodgy deputy.  Pearce is the stand out performer in the film and helps to lift the movie above the mundane, as the creepy villain of the piece.  The three brothers fall neatly into stereotyped roles:

  • Forest – “The strong silent one”
  • Howard – “The big crazy one”
  • Jack -“The young wannabe”

Jack is arguably the central character in the story and his relationships and insecurities effectively drive the narrative of the film.  Inevitably Jack wants to prove himself to his elder brothers and this leads to various unpleasant outcomes.

Lawless is a stylish film, with graphic violence, but the plot holds few surprises.  You kind of know what you’re going to get.  I enjoyed the film, but it feels like it could have been something more.

Lawless currently has a rating of 7.3 on IMDB, and I’d say that’s about right.

2. Skyfall

Skyfall is the latest film in the long running Bond franchise, and after the rave reviews I was keen to check it out.  Although clearly not until it came out on DVD!

Skyfall has been referred to in various quarters as “one of the best Bond films ever” and won the Best British Film award at the BAFTAS.

I have to say, to me this feels like overkill.  Skyfall is a good Bond film.  Personally I preferred Casino Royale, but perhaps that was because it was such a departure from what had come before.

The opening action sequence is overblown, in the way you would expect from a big budget action movie.  The plot revolves around a disgruntled former agent, who is trying to assassinate M (played by Dame Judi Dench).  This agent is a typical Bond style cartoon villain.

The over-riding theme of the film however, is that Bond is getting old.  I guess this could be seen as a witty allegory to the Bond series itself.  I found it a bit odd really, when there have been so many Bonds before, and at no time was it suggested that Bond was ageing in any way. In fact in a number of incarnations he visibly became more youthful!

I guess I’d always thought of Bond as frozen in time.  In Skyfall however, there are a number of nods to the passage of time and a greater sense of continuity.  Its different.

I’d give it about 7.5 out of ten.

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