Tag Archives: Emma Watson

Wild (2014)

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

“If your Nerve, deny you – Go above your Nerve” – EMILY DICKINSON and Cheryl Strayed.

A woman solo-hikes 1,100 miles in the Wild in order to redeem her past; an adventure, a wish, a challenge accepted only in the hope of a better future.

With zero experience on hiking and with the heaviest backpack ever, Cheryl (Reese Witherspoon) climbs up the Pacific Crest Trail accompanied only with her determination and childhood memories, especially of her Mom (Laura Dern).

wild-poster2Wild is actually based on Cheryl Strayed’s memoir by the name ‘Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail’.

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, the film brilliantly emphasizes on the bonding between human solitude and natural wilderness; it’s underlines the need for us to be one with nature in order to revive ourselves, a journey of self realization.

It is said that Reese Witherspoon had to compete with actresses like  Jennifer LawrenceScarlett Johansson and Emma Watson before she finally bagged the role. And she did look the part.

Oscar nominations for both Reese Witherspoon (Actress in a Leading Role) and Laura Dern (Actress in a Supporting Role) performances and so well deserved nominations.

Awesome editing by Martin Pensa and Jean-Marc Vallée, a lot of flashback memories put in but the film seams to travel back and forth effortlessly.

Though it’s a story of adventure but Wild is a relatively slow paced film, shown entirely from the perspective of a woman – it’s about her conflicts, her fear, her insecurities and her achievements.

A genuine story told in style.

If you are up for nature, adventure and real emotions, then this film is for you.

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Noah (2014)

Requiem of a dream, Wrestler, Black Swan – in most of Darren Aronofsky’s films the protagonist goes through a nerve wrecking psychological trip where lines tend to blur in between sanity and insanity. Oh – and they must have difficult relationships with their family members.

His latest film Noah is no exception.

A Paramount Pictures presentation, the mega budget film Noah is certainly a visual treat where often the dream sequences are more interesting than the real ones, and the beliefs of individual characters get more prominence than the overall theme.

Ok, I hope we all are familiar of the Biblical story of Noah – the ‘chosen one’ who followed God’s orders, built a boat (ark) and smuggled a wide range of species (all in couples) before God flooded everything else out of existence. (It’s an interesting fact that similar stories exist in both Islam and Hinduism as well).

Now the film ‘Noah’ does respect this basic Biblical story line but … but …

The director Aronofsky (who claims to be an atheist) gallantly declared that his film is “the least Biblical Biblical film” of all times.

In the film the word ‘creator’ is used instead of ‘God’ to give it an universal appeal and it has many characters and sequences which are not to be found anywhere in the Bible. As a result there were/are enough controversies and debates on such deliberate diversions from the religious text.

But for me it’s ultimately a cinema – a medium of story telling with the sole purpose of entertaining us. We should watch it only as a film and nothing else.

And thus the real question arises – is Noah entertaining enough?

I feel that the film looses its intensity as it tries to tell too many stories at the same time; massively depending on visual effects Noah is entertaining only in bits and pieces.

Russell Crowe’s performance surely gives a new dimension to this well built, crew cut, new-age Noah, but still in some ways we loose focus on him as other characters and their stories constantly distract us.

The character of Noah is portrayed as a psychologically disturbed ecologist who cares only about his dreams (the orders from the creator) to establish an eco-friendly planet devoid of all sins (no sinner no sins theory).

In order to serve his creator and to attain the desired goal Noah can go to any extremes; he kills thousands of people who according to his vision seem unworthy of a new beginning. Noah even decides to kill his own family members to underline his point of eradicating potential sinners. He eventually fights a battle against his own will to survive and being loved again.

The secondary characters are there just to fulfill their specific purposes in the film.

Anthony Hopkins becomes the old, wise grandfather clock (a magician) in love with berries. Ray Winston plays ‘Tubal-cain’, the alter ego of Noah (probably the only interesting character) who in order to justify his superiority over other animals eats away quite a few species to extinction. Emma Watson fulfills her purpose by delivering twins (though her timing seems to upset Noah). And Jennifer Connelly plays the role of the dutiful, teary-eyed, supportive wife.

The other characters (the battalion of Noah’s sons) along with huge, ugly rock figures called the ‘watchers’ are there to divert your mind from the main plot (the effect isn’t always charming).

If you are a die-hard Russell Crowe fan – go for it.

And be prepared to experience a completely twisted version of the good old story of the old man with a long white beard; like it or not its time for the emergence of the new age Noah with his own dark tale of the deluge.

 

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