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Phrembah (a potato-like mystery)

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There are three good movies out there: [Oct. 10th, 2014|03:58 pm]
Phrembah (a potato-like mystery)
The best one is "The Notebook."  No, not the schmaltzy one, this is a gritty, if beautifully photographed, Hungarian indy flick about a pair of twins left by their parents with their impoverished witch of a grandmother to wait out WWII.  Some have compared it to "The Lord of the Flies" as an exposé of the deterioration of human behavior when people (kids in particular) are left more or less to their own devices without adequate civilizing or socializing influence.  It is that, I guess, but it's also a look at how twins have a tendency to live first in a world of two---themselves, special and apart from everyone else---and then in the larger community of the general world.  For most of the film, they cannot and will not be separated for even a few minutes.  At the end they go their separate ways.  If they were thirteen at the start of the film, they must be fourteen but not yet fifteen when they split at the end.  There is one short scene foreshadowing this ever so slightly in which they are fighting with each other, one telling the other to quit following him around.  Other than that the only explanation proffered is that the separation is the last in a series of painful, but in their eyes necessary, exercises in self inflicted survival training designed to toughen themselves against the world at large.  The separation is elaborately planned; they had to have engineered it together, but it is never revealed how it was decided that one would leave and the other stay on the now-dead grandmother's farm and why not vise versa.  It's kind of cool that you are left to figure this out for yourself.  I thoroughly enjoyed the film despite its raucous, bumpy, violent, incongruous story line.  That's how life happens, folks.

The next best is "The Drop."  It's a gangster film about a New York neighborhood in which the old Mafia crowd has been replaced by ruthless Chechen thugs controlled by a central infrastructure.  James Gandolfini's character works at a bar he used to own (now owned by the Chechens) and is trying to engineer a swan song of a swindle of the bosses that will leave him set up for the rest of his life, at which point he thinks he will be able to walk away from the whole mess.  Think again.  There's subterfuge within the subterfuge, some of it involving his low key seemingly dull cousin Bob who also works at the bar.  The story is complex and intriguing and the acting, directing, writing, etc. is excellent.  The film also includes one of my personal favorites, Noomi Rapace, the original "Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" from the Swedish series of films.  The net effect is completely engrossing and thoroughly entertaining.

The last of the three is "Gone Girl."  It is more mainstream than the other two and features a name brand Hollywood cast.  It gets kind of comic-booky and lapses somewhat into graphic novel style here and there.  The story is nevertheless engrossing with plenty of unexpected twists and turns.  It ends with the main characters alive and free---at least not in prison---but walking a tightrope as precarious and even more potentially dangerous than the one they were walking prior to the beginning of the film.  "Gone Girl" is definitely worth the watching and very entertaining though not as gritty and real as "The Notebook" or "The Drop."
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