Saturday, May 23, 2009

Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983): 5.3/10

Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence
Grade: 5.3

I have no idea what I thought of this. I was interested in some of this. The beginning and other parts. I do not even know how to describe this movie. It had a lack of focus to it even though it seemed to have one in the beginning. I never felt that Colliers (Bowie) stay at the POW camp was solidified in its depiction which is basically what the movies success hinges on and I think it fails in this area. It also fails to show me a significant friendship between Colliers and Lawrence which the film seems to think it had developed.

It is very disappointing because if the middle section of the film had been done well I feel that this would have been a great movie. All of the characters are interesting especially Takeshi Kitano as Sergeant Hara. All four of the main characters were interesting; Colliers, Lawrence, Yonoi and Hara. I just felt that the character connections and the story were mildly there or not fully developed and it was disappointing since the film showed so much promise. I also enjoyed the flashback to Colliers’ childhood greatly but the problem with that was that the issues of the other parts of the film prohibit this section from making any sort of sense. A lot of this was too ambiguous for me. I don’t mind ambiguity but for a film like this I think there could have been a bit more solidity to it. I also felt like the movie did not know when to end. There was a lot of great stuff at the end but it just kept going. I think the image I will take the most from this movie is David Bowie buried up to his head in sand as he dehydrates to death. I cannot deny how haunting that image was. I think I found this film one of the most frustrating that Amanda and I have watched because I saw so much potential in it. There is a lot of great here but nothing to really connect any of it with a completely coherent story. Apparently this film is very well respected and is considered to be quite good. Oshima is a big deal. But for me I wish I saw the greatness others saw in this film. Again, I saw greatness in it and there are really fantastic characters here but there is not enough focus for a film that seems to think it as focus.

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