Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Movie Marathon

In this age of zombie overkill (so to speak), The Girl With All the Gifts actually gives us something to think about, other than blood and guts, I mean. This movie is from a novel and has a feel of the greater depth that is likely found in the novel, which I have not yet read, but would like to after seeing the film. To be fair to zombies, these creatures in the story are not exactly zombies. Rather, they would seem to be victims of a very contagious disease which is contracted after being bit by someone who already has the disease. So, close enough. But there’s more. Children appear to suffer from a second, separate stage of the disease wherein they, unlike the adult victims, are still able to think and speak. They are also immune to attack from other zombies because they have already been bitten and already carry the disease. In other words, the adult zombies have no taste for the infected children, even though, by appearances, they are still human. On the other hand, the children do have a taste for untainted flesh. So … what is deadly may come in a pleasing package. What is deadly may not intend, in itself, to be deadly. It has a soul. It also has an appetite. The child is both the cure and the disease. It is our hope, and it is our death. So, you see, interesting. I think I saw the novel in Periplus, so I’ll say more later.

Moonlight, which was nominated for a Golden Globe award, is a whole nuther critter. This is a deeply felt, very finely acted story about growing up male / growing up black / growing up human on the mean streets of America. It is about how important is to have someone when you have no one. It is about the relationship between love and cruelty, and how the two can go hand in hand. The film work in this movie is amazing, addictive. I would watch it again just for the fine points on that count.

Lastly, we have Fences, with Denzel Washington. Denzel does a great job in this play brought to the big screen, as do all the supporting actors. Although the story is somewhat derivative, it draws on age-old themes and re-presents conflicts that we all experience in our own times and settings, and does nicely in making these themes universal rather than racial. To be sure, the characters are black and the frame of reference often pertains to the black experience, but, on the wide view, we are looking at the life of any human in any family – that universal condition which William Faulkner so ably summed up in his own Nobel Prize speech. This movie is more accessible than Moonlight, though not as good. Still, it is well worth seeing.

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