Monday, May 19, 2014
First, The Retrieval has to be admired for what it achieved with its budget. It belongs to a long if largely under-appreciated tradition of low budget war films like Come And See, Generation Kill, Overlord, Kanal, and Full Metal Jacket. Sophomore director, Chris Eska, told Indiewire that he considered several different locations and time periods for this story before settling on the Civil War South. The flexibility to set the same story on the contemporary US/Mexican border, in India in the 1970's, or between Union and Confederate lines in the 1860's could be seen as a sign of overweening acquiescence to one's producers: if there's money to make it in 1970's India with period cars, crowded exteriors with extras in period clothing, let's do it. If not let's ride on this slavery film wave and make a film with Civil War reenactors who already own the uniforms, tents, and rifles. We should consider here, however, that every element of filmmaking is creative, including the management of finances. The producer is herself a vital and intelligent artist - or at least, she better be. What The Retrival did with the money it had is an artistic achievement.
Thursday, May 1, 2014
If you haven't seen it yet, and/or are wondering if Truffaut was right when he said, "There's no such thing as British cinema," find yourself a copy of the late Bob Hoskins' The Long Good Friday.
If you have seen it, here's the ending again, which is one of my favorite in film history. 90% of that enjoyment is Bob Hoskins. Contains spoilers.