Here is a bonus posting this week from Alison. I will add that I have liked and respected Matthias Schoenarts work in films like Kursk, The Danish Girl, Disorder and others (high praise here from Alison to compare with Daniel Day-Lewis (DDL)) :
Tis the season of nary a good movie to watch while we eagerly await festival season and the Oscar bevy of films. Some one asked me recently what the last good film I saw was and I was stumped. Sometimes I wake up the next morning and I can’t remember the movie I watched the previous night. Maybe its…what do they call that thing again when you start forgetting?? Ya that. Or maybe it’s because most have been forgettable.
This weekend I watched The Mustang with Matthias Schoenaerts. The story takes place in a prison and features an inmate that is completely shut down but through his enrolment in taking care of and breaking wild mustangs, finds his redemption. Not a new story but this time an engaging adaption of it. The parallels between the lead character and the horse that chooses him are blatantly obvious and formulaic but still it works because of Schoenaerts performance. He does the silent / brooding bloke so well along with his strong screen presence. I am starting to see the makings of an heir apparent to DDL in this guy.
The horse gets a nomination for best animal in a movie. Kudos also to Bruce Dern for his crusty cowboy character which is sure to be one of his few remaining performances. Worth checking out.
The other movie I’ll mention is Photograph. Much like the Lunchbox, this is an Indian film that is based on the premise of a magical connection between people. The male lead is of a lower class and dark cast and makes his living taking pictures of passers by in front of the Taj Mahal. One day he convinces a young middle class lighter cast woman to allow him to take her picture. As circumstance would have it, she bolts without paying and thus her imprint is left on him. Grandma has been on his case to marry so he decides to send her the woman’s picture claiming her to be his betrothed. Of course grandma hops the next train and as fate would have it he and the girl commence their ruse (she’s always wanted to be an actor). It’s predictable enough for you to figure how this goes but the movie is not conventional in that regard. This is one of those movies that is engaging and nearly flawless in its execution; nearly. Some would say the movie’s ending was perfect and some, like me, kinda felt like I was walked down the garden path and then left there. Either way, the Photograph is captivating.