12. "probably my favorite movie I saw last year. it's not perfect though." In response to Reply # 0
here's the notes I wrote down after:
Flubs the ending a little, just not enough wrapping things up. Almost feels like a summer blockbuster or AAA video game hoping against hope sales would justify a sequel, and there is also a pair of interactions between Lou and Rick and Lou and Nina that feel a little off tone. But the pacing of the movie is absolutely fantastic, the definition of a start to finish thrill ride. Gyllenhaal's pulling elements from all of his best roles here - Donnie Darko's impish sullenness, Jarhead's simmering rage, Zodiac's childlike obsessiveness - to create a character viewers won't soon forget. He pulls your eyes and ears towards him at all times, emphasized by a few overlong lingering shots of Lou Bloom in deep thought.
Thanks to sidekick Rick, a seeming-stoner and possibly alcoholic homeless man played by Riz Ahmed of Four Lions, is also much funnier than I'd anticipated. This should be a breakout role for him. But the character also seems a little too beaten down at times, a little too desperate to be wanted by someone whether that comes with dignity or not. In fact many of the characters outside of Bloom feel like they're missing an essential something that would make them seem human, the way they constantly bend to his will as though he's not primarily an annoying brat.
The rest of the film (sans ending) is so confident I have to imagine this isn't just a coincidence that the clear sociopath seems like a more complete person than everyone around him, but it was still a little hard to swallow on my way out the door. I'm not sure Lou should have been able to get everything he wanted, and the fact that his one true source of conflict in the film proved to be little more than the outline of a speed bump yet to be poured feels cheap and keeps the plot from feeling anything other than ephemeral. This is a movie you'll be watching again and again because of the atmosphere more than the actual events.
Still, the way the thing is shot and performed can't be ignored, and whenever a two hour movie can feel like it was over as quickly as a television serial you know you've found yourself a proper thriller. Hopefully this could be the start of a very interesting relationship between Gilroy and Gyllenhaal, should Gilroy decide to continue directing (and what an incredible start for such a late bloomer) and Jake decide he's missing one of those good old fashioned Hollywood duos from his portfolio.
Lastly, big shout to Robert Elswit as usual. I was disappointed to learn he wasn't the cinematographer for The Master when I finally saw that earlier this year (happy to have him back for Inherent Vice) and super excited when I learned he was in charge of shooting for this jam. He doesn't always pick great projects, but great projects seem to have a way of picking him and he knocks them out of the park every time.