Top marks to Charles H. Ferguson for producing this film and Matt Damon for narrating and bringing star attention to a project that may have been otherwise ignored. Inside Job isn’t the whole story of finance capitalism (worthless speculation and derivatives markets) and its long history of corruption and brutal impact on industrial capitalism (in which things of tangible value actually get made), but that would be too much to ask for in the space of two hours. But the film makers seem to be aware of the boundaries they’re working in and occasionally offer further hints of the larger, darker story of New York Financiers. Where this film succeedes is in its broad introduction of finance corruption to a general public who know little of such matters.
The issue of fiat currency (easily produced money based upon nothing more than consumer belief) versus precious metal backed money isn’t explored in Inside Job. So in addition to viewing Ferguson’s film I recommend the three hour documentary The Money Masters, Aaron Russo’s Freedom to Fascism, and especially Paul Grignon’s short film Money as Debt. For those seeking a more detailed antidote to the financial lies of our times I recommend Antony C. Sutton’s books The War on Gold, Gold for Survival and The Federal Reserve Conspiracy.
The revolution in animated films continues with Rango, an animated western featuring a cast of desert animals.
If it wasn’t for the different production companies, writers and directors associated to the spate of brilliant new animated features it would be very easy to assume they were all made by the same film making team. Toy Story 3, Wall E, Despicable Me and Rango feature overlapping social themes and remarkably similar styles of symbolic communication. It seems that film makers in this genre are inspiring each other to greater heights and, collectively, they’ve been heavily inspired by Stanley Kubrick.
Wall E was packed with references to the hidden narrative of 2001: A Space Odyssey, but Rango extends the referencing of other films much further. And it isn’t just about paying homage. Mad Max 2, Apocalypse Now, 2001: A Space Odyssey and a host of westerns (especially the Clint Eastwood classic High Plains Drifter) are referenced in the storyline of Rango because their social themes mirror those of Rango.
Identity, elitism and social control through propaganda, bribery and natural resources are core themes of Rango and, where necessary, the film is appropriately dark in tone. Highly recommended.
Children’s animation films draw me to the cinema more often than live action films these days, not for eye candy, but because they’re frequently better scripted, more multi-layered and more intelligent. In the past two years many of my favourite releases have been childrens 3d animation films … Wall E, Toy Story 3, 9, How to Train Your Dragon and now Despicable Me. All five are classics.
But something else that draws me to these films is that several of them are richly symbolic in a way that isn’t far off the work of Stanley Kubrick. Despicable Me and Wall E have enough overlapping themes to each justify at least a ten chapter analysis. I won’t go into detail here, but if you’re into film analysis then I highly recommend you get hold of a copy of each and study them.
I watched Surrogates at the cinema when it was released. Not a perfect film – a little too Hollywood in delivery for my tastes, but it’s packed with excellent ideas relevant to our internet dominated times. For some reason the film appears to have completely disappeared from public memory within just 18 months of release. A string of very negative reviews from critics, who are often found giving praise to worse films, didn’t help. What Surrogates lacks in comparison to the overrated Inception and underrated The Matrix is a plotline that many viewers find difficult to unravel. Nevertheless I still recommend it.
This is an amusing interview. David gives consistently vague answers to the point where we could probably reduce the whole interview to a simple statement of “I refuse to tell you what Mulholland Drive is about.”
Lynch responds to a questions about the creation of “darkness of mood” with “It’s not like you do something just to do something. You are true to the ideas.” So he does create a darkness of mood with a purpose rather than an aesthetic after thought, but the interview doesn’t get any more revealing than that. Even David’s refusal to tell his own cast about the true meanings of the story are brushed away with vague justifications.
Times have changed for the Coen’s. The days of them producing one classic film after another with original storylines of their own appear to have vanished. The Man Who Wasn’t There was the last Coen original storyline that really worked, but that was six films ago. In recent years their best films have been adaptations of novels, such as No Country for Old Men and now True Grit. For my money No Country had a lot more depth than True Grit, though I’ve only seen the latter once.
However, there’s nothing wrong at all with making a highly entertaining western with great performances, funny dialogue and great action scenes. Even if all their films from here on are adaptations, if they’re up to this standard then we can look forward to some great films.
Last night I watched this film for the first time. Previously I’d ignored it after hearing a lot of negative comments and negative reviews, but it’s brilliant.
It’s very slow to start off, but builds up layers upon layers of meaning and atmosphere. At least half of the film is a dream sequence and it uses a lot of the same narrative logic as Blue Velvet and Mulholland Drive. This is definitely on the list for the full film analysis treatment.