Indisputably a major landmark in American cinema and the progress of acting alike, On the Waterfront is an ethically complex tale of dock workers, unionization, and corruption. The film features an early Marlon Brando, who delivers one of his all-time finest performances as morally-conflicted longshoreman Terry Malloy. Brando manages to bring a remarkable amount of naturalism and even vulnerability to his character purely through his physical presence and vocal inflections, best seen in a late scene where Terry laments his…
While most films about labor center around the plight of blue-collar workers, Mike Judge’s 1999 satirical comedy Office Space fills the unique niche of depicting the tedious struggle of white-collar America. Originating from one of Judge’s cartoon sketches, the film follows a handful of programmers and mid-level businessmen as they go about their dreadfully dull lives in their painfully generic jobs. Office Space has a somewhat unremarkable narrative, but its satirical exaggeration of the middle-class workplace is what truly sells…
So frustratingly close to becoming a modern masterpiece, held back literally by a handful of clumsy scenes of exposition.
Roger Deakins is a treasure. The first shot of Ryan Gosling's silhouette against the harsh orange of poisoned Las Vegas air is *perfect*. Its jaw-dropping beauty caught me off guard even on a second watch.
There's a moment in Taxi Driver when Travis Bickle is balancing his TV set with his foot. There's a light tension in the air as it oscillates back and forth between the force of his foot and gravity. Ultimately it falls over, and its assured destruction is perhaps the film's most obvious parallel to Travis's own downward spiral. Teetering on the edge in his own mental illness and isolation, Travis is very much that TV set.