Shame that this isn’t better because Simien clearly has a lot to say that needs to be said, but this barely functions as a film. He’s constructed characters that are less human than mouthpieces for different ways to approach being black and moves them around the board to fit a narrative that isn’t terribly compelling to begin with. Add that to a functional-at-best visual style with no flow, and you have a frustrating movie that I could tell was just bursting with interesting thoughts and no way to express them. Maybe he should have just published the fictional book within a movie that Sam wrote.
Good enough. Which is a slight disappointment, given the glimpses of minor brilliance. Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish had an inspired idea in making it a heist flick (continuing to prove my point that superhero films are not a genre but just a frame by which to make other genre pictures), and there are spots of their humor that seem to have make it unvarnished to the screen (but also not quite as tight as the visual jokes in other…
Stunning. This might be a 10 on another viewing just because it is so knotty and there’s no way I caught everything that is wonderful about this film. But I caught a lot. Best blocking of any film ever? Probably. Best sunglasses? Definitely. This is a goddam motion picture, folks. And please, my God, anyone who is planning to make a movie that makes use of space (every movie ever), please study how this film makes sure that we know exactly where everyone is in relation to everyone else at all times. Study that tailing scene in the streets! Study it!
[review of festival cut]
Suddenly not so angry that there are multiple cuts to this film as it is clearly a case of a really good movie struggling to be told. The shots are there, I think, but there is something off about how it is put together, rhythmically and otherwise. It wants to be about Ip Man, it wants to be about Gong Er, and revolutionary/civil war China, and the golden age of Chinese martial arts, but by doing…