the giants say, “it gets better”

what i watched last week

The Night of the Hunter (Charles Laughton, 1955). #31 on my Facebook Faves list. Just a reminder, if you’d like to read the reviews for those films, let me know and I’ll add you to the Facebook group. #39 on the They Shoot Pictures, Don’t They list of the top 1000 films of all time. 10/10.

Shoot the Piano Player (François Truffaut, 1960). #33 on Phil’s Facebook list. A fun film about melancholy, and perhaps my second-favorite Truffaut after Jules and Jim. Charles Aznavour’s pianist shuts himself off from emotion because things go wrong when he gets involved, and we see just how wrong they can be. Yet Truffaut’s style is playful; he seems to try anything that crosses his mind. The director exhibits the qualities the title character avoids, and the director wins. #219 on the TSPDT list. 9/10.

Taxi Driver (Martin Scorsese, 1976). #30 on my Facebook list. #26 on the TSPDT list. 10/10.

The Conspirator (Robert Redford, 2010). This is a fairly straightforward, low-key film about the real-life trial of Mary Surratt, accused of complicity in the assassination of Lincoln. Redford approaches the facts of the case with dogged assurance, but Robin Wright as Surratt is asked to submerge her emotions for the most part, so the film lacks punch. Meanwhile, Redford blatantly piles on the "it's just like America after 9/11" comparisons; in the relative absence of emotion elsewhere in the film, those comparisons leap out at the viewer. You leave the theater thinking less about Mary Surratt and President Lincoln and more about the Patriot Act and Presidents Bush and Obama. 6/10.