Saturday, April 26, 2003

fahrenheit 451/airframe/identity {Another cryptic title from the Mallu_in_the_South}

Identity Caught Identity yesterday. While a lot of people felt cheated by the end of this film ("Psycho meets Ten Little Indians" was one of the ways people referred to it), I was satisfied by the interesting nature of the obligatory twist in films of this kind. The setup is familiar: 10 complete strangers (and thus the Christie connection) end up at a lonely location (a motel in this case, hence the Psycho allusions) on a rainy night and then people start getting bumped off. Great ensemble (including the talented John Cusack; the subdued Ray Liotta; Amanda Peet whom I seem to remember from The Whole Nine Yards and Spin City; Rebecca De Mornay, and Alfred Molina). Alan Silvestri's score reminded me of songs by U2 for some reason.

A couple of coincidences will make the film a little more special for me. I had never heard of James Mangold (the director) before. I was reading an article titled Afterwards about Sweet Smell of Success, a wonderfully written/directed/acted movie. The article offered a more personal insight since the writer had known director Alexander Mackendrick. The writer's name was James Mangold. Flipping to the end, I found out that he had directed Copland, which was heavily panned and politely referred to as the movie where Stallone tried something serious. Not very promising. An IMDB search got me more information: this guy had an interesting career and had under his belt movies like Kate and Leopold and Girl, Interrupted. And then the promos for Identity began making their rounds on TV. And I checked IMDB again. The name "James Mangold" jumped out at me. Hmm. But personal irony aside, with arms open wide for brickbats, I'd recommend this movie. If only I could tell you more without ruining it for you. Roger Ebert seems to have done a better job at this. The only thing I can say is that the greatest merit the movie showcases may eventually be the one that causes it some negative feedback. This movie has a cheat. But the cheat is fair (like The Sixth Sense). But, some people are used to unfair cheats, and seem to expect them.

Airframe Another random choice off the library shelves is Michael Crichton's Airframe, which mixes mainstream bestseller norms and authentic information on a subject that was of topical interest when he wrote the book and has acquired ominous echoes since 9/11, aircrafts and aircraft disasters. A fast entertaining read that also explores the superficiality (albeit superficially) of the media and the potential damage of their antagonistic coverage of events, the burden of blame and the hostility evident in public statements and images.

Fahrenheit 451

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