Sunday, 12 February 2012

The Machinist & L.A. Confidential

After our critical studies lecture we tend to have a film showing, it’s never specific to a genre or style but the films always have some sort of depth that creates an engaging atmosphere and environment, much like most good games. In other word’s I don’t think our tutor would show something like ‘White chicks’ or ‘American Pie’ simply because the only thing these films have going for them is... ‘It’s funny, because it’s stupid’. Anyway, I have been lacking on blogging about these and I can’t say I have attended every showing (I had good reasons, promise!) but its time I backtracked and watch/review all this stuff for my own good, as games create great escaping environments and I don’t think films are far behind.

The Machinist

So the first film we saw was The Machinist, I had seen it before so it refreshed my memory. I think the whole film is interweaved around the self destructive mentally that we humans can face after hurting someone else or disrupting the status quo in someone else’s life. Christian Bale aka Trevor Resnick is a factory worker who hasn’t slept for significant amount of time, both paranoid and unhappy he lurks around looking like some sort of zombie. He knows his life was not like this before but it’s as if he does not recall why he is now the way he is. The film is unique because unlike your average flick where you see many sides of a story but the actors only know one, and you find yourself shouting at the screen because you know something the main character doesn’t. The Machinist only shows you the perspective from the first person so as the film progresses through Trevor’s thought processes and actions you understand more and more what is actually going on. I believe people do live in their own little worlds so there viewpoint is a skewed, distorted perception of reality and this film really does play on this a great deal.

Trevor’s memory seems to have taken a few hits due to his lack of sleep so he finds himself every night at a coffee shop at the airport, trying to achieve some sort of friendship with the waitress. A worker at the factory looses an arm due to an accident and Trevor is the one all fingers point to. His paranoia eats at him to over think everything but he never gets any real answer until the film unravels itself right at the end. Though Bale is a huge actor his intense almost anorexic weight somewhat over shadows the depth of this film, or I guess some could argue it compliments it. I think overall it is a very strong piece at is exaggerates a emotional state we all can find ourselves in, but in a way where we can still relate to the character, in the end of course you see Trevor find peace with himself as he gets what he always wanted, the narrative also explains itself as to why the character is in such a self destructive state, this keeps audiences involved throughout the whole film. It also reminded me of the film ‘Fight Club’ which I may watch once again in my personal time to do a review.

L.A. Confidential

This film takes place in the 1950’s where corruption, drug deals, police brutality, organised gun crime and prostitution is an everyday thing. Here you have three completely different characters that are set on the same task; each one is like the perfect contrast to the other. Russell Crowe aka ‘Wendell White’ stars in this as the aggressive, high in testosterone officer who especially hates women beaters. Then you have Kevin Spacey aka ‘Jack Vincennes’ who loves the limelight and attention, finally the younger more truthful and ‘by the book’ detective Guy Pearce aka ‘Edmund J’. Exley. Straight away I was thinking of the game L.A. Noire as they greatly share the same setting and it may be that the game owes some debt to the film. The film represents Los Angeles facade of glitz and glamour quite well alongside a dark, cynic atmosphere where the good guys can be bad, but the bad guys are worse.      

Overall I thought it was a pretty decent film as it displayed corruption throughout the higher levels of officials in the police business, it creates a almost heroic atmosphere when the underdogs or in this case detectives had to take down the ‘big guy’ but don’t have evidence or any witnesses to prove their accusations. It reminds of the player verses final boss thinking where you can only defeat the final boss when you have equipped yourself with the best gear in the game after going through all the lower levels first. I enjoyed it although I wouldn’t consider it my faverouite film it was a great detective story with a pretty strong narrative that kept me watching till the end. It has a very interesting way of ending itself as the underdogs do win and the ‘final boss’ type character has to go down however because the main bad guy is such a high official in the police ranks its apparent that the characters which discovered his corruption now face the whole police department as their reputation is at risk, this keeps it realistic.

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