28 February 2009

Sunset Boulevard

Mr. DeMille, I'm ready for my close-up now...

This movie is every bit as fantastic as people say. In fact, it's better. It's a fantastic dark and creepy noir and you should go watch it like, now. What's really cool about this movie, one of the many things, is how it manages to modernize the Gothic. It's really neato. It uses all these old conventions - the creepy old mansion, the mysterious devoted servant, the crazy lady - but makes them current, sort of. In that they're believably happening at the time the movie was set, but also derive their creepiness partly from the fact that they seem like these strange relics of a bygone time. Which in turn, is an elegant reminder of the political dimensions of the Gothic as a genre. Oh, it's so cool.

I guess film noir tends to have this Gothic dimension in general, but here it seemed more like Gothic plus film noir, ie, scary story with a hard-boiled fast-talking detective type thrown in. Fantastic.

Also, the relationship aspect was really interesting. I don't want to spoil anything, but there's a scene where there's this kind of question of whether you love someone for who they are, or whether you can in fact learn something about them that will change how you feel. And for that matter, whether a person in that position should try to change the way they are, or insist that you love them as is - even if as is happen to be rather anomalous for them in many ways. This is awfully convoluted, but perhaps when you see the movie, you'll know what I mean - there was something kind of poignant for me about the scene.

Anyways, long story short - fantastic movie. 5 out of 5 stars.

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