Monday, July 20, 2009


Oh right! Maybe I can enjoy dramas. Because I now recall that I also recently viewed a very good Dutch film, the 1998 winner of Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars, Character. I paid attention to the whole thing and thoroughly enjoyed it. Although, I tend to pay far more attention to foreign films because I can't focus elsewhere because I have to read subtitles.

Regardless, I think this just means that the "adult dramas" I have viewed lately are boring or just not that great (apologies to Last Chance Harvey, Pride and Glory, and Public Enemies).

Anyway, Character. My mother and father viewed it before me (we all share a lovely Netflix account which means that movies rot in front of our TV because my parents are workaholics and I sneakily move my film choices up the queue but then my parents want to watch the same movies... so the movies still rot) after it had been sitting in front of our television for at least two weeks, and my mother cryptically ranted "if only he hadn't kept visiting his father." And I think to myself, "what, is his father a gangster? Is he rebelling but failing? Dude, no matter how shit their parents are, some kids just get attached." But my mother has this thing where she actually expects characters to be perfect. Watching Battlestar Galactica with her is a pain in the ass. I love her, but characters are flawed.

As is Jacob, our protagonist. Majorly flawed, but who can blame the kid? (Mind the following spoilers if you haven't seen the film.) He was raised by a mother who didn't care and was the illegitimate son of a prick whom he was indebted to. If he and his mother got along better, I'd totally call this a Oedipus complex (he rivals his daddy lots, physically fighting toward the end. It was awesome seeing this adorable little lawyer beating up his big, buff bailiff daddy). I, for one, thoroughly enjoy flawed characters, ones who have these major problems that they just can't fix. They're interesting, not to mention well-rounded and sensibly-crafted. Jacob can't help but try to tell his father, "despite all the shit you put me through and the way that you weren't there, I STILL WON."

And considering how he got a rather happy ending (aside from the not-to-die-for-in-attractiveness-but-mildly-pretty Miss Le George getting married and strolling about with her baby) and was discovered to be innocent of his father's death, I really don't see how it was such a bad thing that he kept going back to visit his father. Of course he did! Sure, he shouldn't have nearly killed him, but characters don't do what they should; they do what is in character.

James Bond is a majorly flawed character (he's essentially a boozing, womanizing assassin, but he works for the good guys). Pretty much all superheroes are massively flawed, all the best protagonists are. Even Harry Potter, for all his ridiculous Chosen One skills is still a whiny angst-ridden emo/i-miss-my-mommy-and-daddy kid. Even my mother's beloved Bill Adama and Laura Roslin have definite issues.

So I switched topics a little bit, from my issues with focusing on dramas to characterization (something that frustrates me when it isn't done right... I'm looking at you, Heroes, for shitting on your original concept of ordinary people doing extraordinary things and making it into this-character-does-this-because-we-want-them-to... lezzie!Claire is not going to help your show's issues), but I'll conclude with this: Character was a great film featuring a fascinating and well-portrayed (and fairly attractive) protagonist. Maybe I just need to watch more foreign films. I've met very few foriegn films I haven't liked. Granted, Yo-Yo Girl Cop was more ridiculous than good... but it was still fun to see Japanese school girls trying to kill each other with yo-yos.

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