I gave this film four stars initially, but having spent the whole day not being able to get it out of my head, thinking more about what it’s trying to say, my feelings and interpretation deepening, I promote it to full five stars. This is not an experience that I will be able to shake off and move on, and that is what great art is about. I feel that culturally Us will get its proper dues with time.
I want to praise The Firemen’s Ball for things it’s not often praised for. All too often it gets trapped in its historical context, which is understandable. It was the first colour production of the prominent member of the Czech New Wave and already well established director Miloš Forman. A few months after the film’s completion, Soviet troops marched in, cracked down on the remaining bits of freedom, and the film was not just banned but “banned forever”. It would…
Obviously, Scorsese can put a film together with aplomb, and some of the footage and music juxtapositions here are spectacular, but mostly this is a very conservative affair and hagiographic to the bone. It's a shame that it completely brushes over some of the most significant aspects of Harrison's life (his marriages, his drug addiction) so as not to complicate the flawless image Scorsese is trying to paint. I enjoyed the film while it lasted, but I am left with very little to dwell or to chew on.