So PTP isn't fuckin' with critics' favorite Oscar contender, eh?
Good 'cause it's basic. I LIKE it, and it LOOKS good, and sometimes the performances are GOOD but boy does this movie mistake being elusive for being clever. Half the time it feels like the characters are talking in non sequiturs to each other just to keep the audience from latching on, while at others it's so try-hardy cowpoke which is really just a shame considering the heater westerns and western-likes have been on from There Will Be Blood, The Coward Robert Ford and the True Grit reboot all the way up through the video game Red Dead Redemption II and The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
Again, I think it's a recommendable movie if you like the director, the actors, the genre, but I'm shocked just how over the moon people are about this one. I mean, am I being weird or didn't Cumberbatch's character actually wind up coming off like a pretty decent guy who didn't deserve all the shit he got from these judgy ass people surrounding him?
2. "i had to watch this a 2nd time. i kinda wandered through the 1st." In response to Reply # 0
and i def caught a lot of things foretelling the climax that i missed the 1st time around.
im not one to harp on 'the agenda' in hollywood. but i think a lot of the critical fascination comes from the typical axis being flipped and who really held the keys in the power dynamic. even the way the true protagonist gradually seizes the stage and you finally realize it was his show.
it was definitely well written. especially on the 2nd viewing.
3. "I would not call Cumberbatch's character a "pretty decent guy," lol." In response to Reply # 0
He's an emotional abuser throughout the movie.
Asshole to his brother, but his brother just bottles it all up, as you have to do with family sometimes (you can tell how much his brother craves kindness by the fact that he starts crying when Rose encourages him to try dancing).
Asshole to the kid at first for his lisp and his general effeminate vibe. Only starts being remotely nice to the kid when he realizes his secret spot-- and quite possibly his stash of nude men photos-- is discovered. Is he nice just to keep the kid quiet? Or is he nice because he sees himself in the kid? Either way, I wouldn't call it benevolence, lol.
Asshole to Native Americans, choosing to burn hides instead of selling them to the traders from the local tribe.
And obviously absolutely psychologically torments Rose to the point that she starts drinking, lol. He's fucking with her from day 1, trying specifically to get her to leave through emotional warfare and manipulation.
So I deeeeeefinitely don't think he's a decent guy. Is he a guy with misunderstood motives? Maybe, sure. Is he a guy who we feel a little sympathy for in that he's got to keep his gayness hidden for his entire life, so he can never be himself? Definitely. But that also doesn't excuse the fact that his compensation for that inner turmoil manifests itself in him being a total prick to everyone, lol.
4. "All fair points!" In response to Reply # 3 Wed Jan-19-22 06:09 AM by Nodima
I suppose my problem was I never found a sympathetic ear for anyone else in the movie, either, so as Cumberbatch and McPhee's relationship became the focus of the movie it felt like...man, this guy really is looking out for this kid despite his earlier bullying, it's kinda lame that we're just gonna celebrate his poisoning at the kid's hand because nobody in this movie had any happiness at all. I get he contributed to that, but it also felt like in a family full of people unable or unwilling to be honest with themselves at least he was trying in his own convoluted way.
Perhaps if the Campion's direction hadn't been so dry and observational I could have found a key somewhere. But it felt to me like a handful of bad people being bad to themselves or others and he was only the worst of the bunch by virtue of being the least willing to conform to whatever pursuit of happiness Landry and Juliet (can't help it) were going for.
8. "Because enough Academy members considered it worthy." In response to Reply # 7
It’s pretty inarguably elegantly crafted. I understand the argument that it leaves some viewers cold, but the craft is fairly immaculate. I wouldn’t have made it a Best Pic nominee personally, but I would’ve nominated it for several categories (Cinematography, Production Design, Score, etc).
9. "I wouldn't be surprised if "Westerns" become this century's period piece" In response to Reply # 8
It gives costume designers, cinematographers, set designers, craftsmen, actors and so on a lot of room to play and similar to how the western used to act as a populist subversion to the formal cosplay of Old Hollywood (though to be fair also quickly becoming what superhero entertainment is today on both TV and the big screen) everyone involved can make it look like and sound like they all tried so hard.
I've rewatched this movie since my initial reaction and, sure, no longer would straight up argue Phil was actually the protagonist (lol), but I still get why I wasn't as moved as I could tell I was supposed to be. The last act seems to just happen to everybody, and for all the weight Plemons can bring to both a pedant and a literalist it's incredibly disappointing that he's mostly a background guy while his wife deteriorates and his brother resents her for it. Wherever the conflict is, the audience has to put it there. I don't think Campion does a good job of even hinting at what it is.