Movie Review: Indignation

My guess is that many people think they can act and after seeing this great movie they will realize that they can’t and never could. Many of us think they can write a screenplay or even great dialogue and after seeing this great movie you will realize that there is a big different between average or run of the mill and greatness in the art of acting and screenwriting. This film is one of the best movies I have ever seen because it has the very rare combination of great acting, dialogue, and screenwriting. I also thought while watching this great film that it seemed to be a throwback to movies that were made in the 40’s and 50’s. In those days, the story, the writing and the acting were the most important and never just special effects like many movies that are made today.

There are so many things that are so impressive about “Indignation” but for me what amazed me the most were the subtlety and simplicity of the storytelling and despite this simplicity, the dialogue and story stayed very complex with symbolism, subtext and messages all the way to the surprise and shocking ending.

There are two scenes in this movie that involve the main character Marcus, a young Jewish freshman college student in the year 1951 from Newark New Jersey played by a great young actor named Logan Lerhman and the Dean of the college he is attending played by Tracy Letts that involves some of the best acting between two actors I have ever seen. While watching the first scene between the two of them, I wondered why the Dean was hammering away at this straight A student over and over again about so many trial issues including like why did he move to another dormitory after having a conflict with his two roommates? Why he was an atheist? Why did the Dean care about the personal religious beliefs of a student, why did he pry into the private life of this young man so rudely as clearly, none of this was his business? The argument between the Dean and Marcus slowly became more and more intense, even causing the young man to become ill because of all the anger and stress the conversation was causing. We later find out that Marcus was having an attack of appendicitis brought on his emotional conversation with the Dean. I thought that the message behind this argument was that very often something that may seem trivial and unimportant could eventually become extremely important and this reality does occur towards the end of the film where Marcus, like so many other students, was paying another student to attend a required religious meeting. The end result of this seemingly trivial mistake is catastrophic and brings about a shocking and unexpected ending.

The other story in this film is the relationship between a very attractive female student played by Sarah Gadon who becomes involved with Marcus and at the end of their first date she does something rather shocking, especially considering the year is 1951. What eventually becomes much more important as this film continues is not that she did what she did with Marcus, but why she did it. The reason for her indiscretion​ is once again brilliantly brought out by another subtle scene while visiting Marcus in the hospital for his appendicitis​ where Marcus asks her about her surgeon father. Later scenes with Marcus mother and her noticing the slash on his girlfriend’s wrist are also brilliant as the simple but complex story plays out.

This movie should be nominated for an Academy Award for best picture, despite the fact that it has come out so early in the year. The arguments between Marcus and the Dean are so well acted that both of them should receive Academy Award nominations just for these scenes alone. This film is a very rare great movie and should be seen by anyone who appreciates movies as an art form and how rare a greatly acted film like this one comes around. We all suffer through so many bad movies in the hopes that we will find one gem out of so many bad films that are made every year. This movie gets my highest recommendation and is one of the best movies I have ever seen.

Past Movie Review: Apollo 13

Apollo 13 came out in 1995 and it is for me, the best movie Ron Howard ever directed. This film is about the failed 1970 3rd mission by NASA to land on the moon and when you see this movie and the amazing luck and genius it took NASA engineers to bring these 3 men back home, you realized for the first time after so many years that the odds were extremely high that all 3 men should have died in space or while burning up while re-entering the atmosphere.

This movie stars Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, Kevin Bacon, Gary Sinise and Ed Harris in what they all probably consider the favorite roles in their career. The special effects in this movie are spectacular, especially when the Saturn 5 Rocket takes off the beginning of the movie and the scenes of weightlessness throughout the film which was accomplished using something called the “Vomit Comet” which is an aircraft that NASA uses to simulate weightlessness, and as a result you can get very nauseous.

For me, the best part of this movie were the series of miracles that the NASA engineers had to pull off to save the lives of these 3 men. After the spaceship exploded mid-way through the trip to the moon, there were problems with the loss of oxygen, filtering the air of carbon dioxide, power supply​ issues, re-entry issues and using the LEM (Lunar Excursion Module) as a lifeboat because all life support and power was lost on the main space capsule. Were it not for some luck and the genius of a group of very smart people at NASA, one of the worst tragedies in NASA history would have occurred and most likely all the astronauts​ would have been floating in space forever.

After this movie came out, Tom Hanks went on to make the great HBO series “From the Earth to the Moon” and he did the same thing after “Saving Private Ryan” with the HBO series “Band of Brothers”. Both of these mini-series for HBO were two of the best the Network ever produced.

If you have not see Apollo 13, it is a must see film about a very important incident in US History.

Past Movie Review: Taken

I thought that when the original movie “Taken” came out in 2008 that it was the first movie of its kind and as far as a believable action movie it was flawless throughout with one of the best endings I have ever seen. The idea behind this film was a great one, the female slave trade that happens in Europe​, where young girls and kidnapped​ at the Airport and then sold to wealthy businessmen. Liam Neeson was outstanding in this movie in by far his best role. His line after his daughter is kidnapped​ which starts with describing his set of skills and ends with him threatening to kill his daughter’s kidnapper over the phone (see video below) is now a movie classic. What is most unfortunate about the original Taken movie is that because of money they decided to make 2 more sequels, the last one was a very bad movie. The problem here is that Taken was a perfect idea that should never be duplicated, but the producers were too afraid to come up with a completely new idea for Taken 2 and Taken 3 and just decided to continue with the same type of story that made the first movie so successful and in the process, completely ruined the entire Taken franchise.

If you have never seen the original Taken movie, you should definitely​ see that film and miss the two sequels.