Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Cinemaddict's Fix/"The Tin Drum," "Old Boy"


By Chad T. Johnston

The Tin Drum ***** -- Danny and I cannot stop talking about this one. It's about a 3-year-old German boy who decides to never grow up. He remains 3-years-old and bangs on his Tin Drum and shrieks to get his way, and WWII goes on all the while. It is one of the few art films I have ever seen that is thoroughly watchable, wholly absorbing. Unlike Won Kar-Wai's films, which are like cinematic sedatives, this is as immediate as anything Hollywood has to offer, but much, much, much weirder.

See it?: Why yes. It is essential viewing, albeit a disturbing viewing experience! :)

Old Boy ****1/2 -- The protagonist in this film actually ate live squid (four of them total -- for different takes) for a scene in this film. The scene is not for the squeamish, but then again, neither is this movie. It is absolutely singular in its vision of revenge, and the squid scene is not the most extreme thing about the movie. If that sounds half as weird as this movie actually feels to watch, then I have succeeded in at least dropping you in the right neighborhood. Regarding the ending of the film, "jaw-dropping" seems like a suitable descriptor. As far as comparisons go, the writing reminded me of "Fight Club" or perhaps some of Tarantino's work. But this film feels far more taboo than anything in those neighborhoods.

See it?: If your stomach is securely locked in place.

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