October 26th, 2015

Beasts of No Nation.  A TIFF selection that I did not see at the festival.

Earlier last week I watched the Netflix movie with Idris Elba and it reminded me of so many other movies that were similar.   The one that came immediately to mind was City of God where these kids were on the mean streets of Rio away from the tourist areas but basically having their youth robbed from them.

Here the young boy with the tight family gets his life ripped apart by internal wars.

There are elements of Hotel Rwanda in here a bit and also Last King of Scotland.    African countries have their troubles and going from one messed up dictator who rapes and steals and pillages from the country’s wealth to another one in succession.  All through bloody battles and war where everyone else is viewed as the ‘enemy’.

Can’t they all just get along for the greater good?!  The common person in these situations is just manipulated and never has a say in governing with anyone that can add value to their lives.

The performances here from the young boys is excellent, the main one in particular.   Yet I still wonder, like with Evolution, whether I would want my child at this age to be acting in a role like this….I doubt it.  Still I was feeling the 2+ hours and was not as impressed by the outcome.   Made me feel sad inside that this is life for many of these kids.   Perhaps that was the point.

I went and saw Steve Jobs yesterday (Cheap Tuesday – $7.50) and also the recommendation from Alison.

I enjoyed this film and the performances.   It is truly a three act play and not a biopic in the traditional sense.   This is Steve Jobs at three separate product launches with various flashbacks in between.
A couple of additional observations.   He was a brilliant business man and strategist and had tremendous vision to look forward.  The entire NEXT situation (Act II) was played to perfection as he shares with Kate Winslet’s character what “The Plan” was.   He recognized that creativity and innovation was lost at Apple when he was removed.   He planned ahead for his next move.
There is a tremendous scene with Winslet and Fassbender (who if he doesn’t get a nomination here will get one soon enough – he is simply excellent) in Act III where she finally stands up to Jobs and states her grounded and well-founded opinion.  It is the culmination of years of watching and working closely with this man.   He is brilliant, and you see the vision that he had.   Amongst all the business, of course, is this relationship with the daughter, and it anchors the rest for me.   As a father with a teenage daughter off at university I was amazed at the level of control that Jobs required.
It is well written, very well acted, and insight into a man who had impacted the modern western world as much as anyone (Bill Gates too).  I would have gotten just as much out of this film on an airplane or on my TV screen at home.  This, unlike The Martian or even Crimson Peak, is a film that does not need to be seen on the big screen.    For what it’s worth.

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