Saturday, September 13, 2003

In one tiny sense Once Upon a Time in Mexico restores my faith in humanity: In the sense that the selling of the film wasn't deceptive. In every tangible way, it is the Johnny Depp movie that the studio relentlessly marketed on television the last month. JD, as Pork Guy, gets every single good line and has the only two compelling action sequences in the entire movie. The nominal stars of the film, Banderas and Hayek, barely register (Hayek literally so since she's in it for no more than ten minutes--and since it is all in dull flashbacks that advance the story not at all, the audience is actually relieved that she is around so little).

But even so OUATIM is dull and uninvolving. The problems start with the title, which demands comparison with Sergio Leone's great Western Once Upon a Time in America, with its shimmering iconic images one after the other. OUATIM, especially for something filmed in Mexico, feels strikingly small and flat when it should be epic. I am sick of people telling me that digital cinematography is every bit as good as celluloid; it isn't. (And what's with the green explosions?). OUATIM looks tired and literally faded on its opening day.

The plot is incomprehensible, and the stunts and action sequences are all watered-down John Woo (or, even worse, latter period James Bond) and are singularly uninvolving except for the aforementioned two with Depp, both of them being gun battles after he suffers a certain disability.

The rest of the cast is disappointing. I think Mickey Rourke was cast so that, just for once, Danny Trejo wouldn't be the ugliest guy in a movie.

Now I have much less to say about the superb Matchstick Men. because it shouldn't be spoiled even a little. It is a wonderful script wonderfully acted and wonderfully directed. I have never been that much of a Nicolas Cage fan, but he is great, as are Lohman and Rockwell. Ridley Scott is a genius. See it.

Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?