Author Topic: Rate Saoirse's Films....  (Read 698 times)

Steve 7216

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Rate Saoirse's Films....
« on: April 14, 2017, 12:52:31 AM »
I'd like to finish from last evening:

7.  How I Live Now - A good role for her at that age.  I recall that an Australian film critic was put off by Daisy’s bitchy behaviour in the opening scenes but that’s what the director wanted.  Among a strong all round cast, especially Tom Holland and Anna Chancellor, she gives a winning performance.  There’s one key moment towards the end where she makes the subtlest nod of affirmation in response to a question from Piper.

8.  I Could Never be Your Woman - An impressive first up film performance in which she really shows her talent.  She manages to steal many of the scenes that she has with Michele Pfeiffer.  She can certainly do comedy.

9.  Death Defying Acts - A bold performance in a slightly disappointing (Australian) production.  The scene towards the end of the film where Benji play-acts being possessed by Houdini’s mother is impressive given how young she was at the time.

10.  The Way Back - Rather over long and tedious.  Certainly the first half is nothing special, it could be any WW2 escapee drama.  It’s only when Irena enters the film that it becomes more interesting, she adds some much needed colour and spark to a dour group of men.

11.  The Host - I quite like this performance although the film itself has obvious weaknesses.  Of the other cast members only William Hurt has the screen presence to match her.  Most of the other performances seem a little stilted and the film itself sometimes feels “staged”.  She was faced with a tough job here to play the dual Wanda/Melanie character using voice overs.  Hard to convey emotion when your character is “genetically” programmed to remain cool and calm.  Even when she’s conflicted inside she’s constrained to appear serene on the surface.  This is similar to S-P where she had to keep a poker face for much of the film.  Unfortunately the voice overs do get a bit corny at times.  Overall Saoirse and William Hurt really had to carry this film.

12.  The Grand Budapest Hotel - It’s hard to rank this performance any higher; she’s a little lost in the ensemble cast.  It seems that many people liked this film but I found its faux reality cartoonish style a little grating.  Too much gratuitous foul language from Ralph Fiennes’ character too.  I tend to think the director made a few errors of judgement with Saoirse’s character:  1/ His instructions to the wardrobe, makeup and hair styling departments, 2/ Asking her to use her natural accent when she has a knack for other accents.  I guess part of the faux reality conceptualisation is the jarring mix of English, American (and Irish) accents.  M. Gustave and Zero’s accents seem appropriate but I would have preferred if the rest had gone for something more consistent.  At least there were no Australian accents.  Saoirse really doesn’t have much chance to do anything interesting as she’s essentially playing a “straight woman” to offset Ralph Fiennes’ smarmy M. Gustave.  Nothing much wrong with her performance but the film as a whole does grate a little no matter how clever the concept/script/conceit.

13.  Violet & Daisy - An interesting little role.  The most effective scenes tend to be those between Daisy and the mafia type she’s supposed to hit.  Her co-conspirator Violet is a less interesting character and played with rather less nuance even though the actress was much older.

14.  City of Ember - She’s only made a couple of kid’s films.  From an early age she was more suited to mature drama roles.  Not so much requirement for her to give a nuanced performance in a kid’s film.  Bill Murray seems so bored he almost walks through his role.  But this was her first chance to play a lead so it was probably good in that way.

15.  The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey - A rather unchallenging support role in a kid’s film, especially given what she would do in Atonement only a few months later.  Maybe best viewed as a good few weeks experience on a film set.

16.  Lost River  - A real mishmash of a film.  The script seems underdeveloped.  Feels as if they were making some of it up as they went along.  Hardly a likeable character in the film other than Rat.  The scenes at the burlesque club are barely watchable but luckily she wasn’t present for those.  Rat’s song is a nice moment.

I’m quite willing to be corrected on any of the above, except for Stockholm Pennsylvania (unless you want to rank it higher).

*How I Live Now/This was obviously a small film that I liked quite a bit.  In your post, you mention an Australian critic who wasn't fond with this initially acerbic character, and I read a similar reaction from the senior film critic of The Hollywood Reporter (Todd McCarthy) who also was put off by Saoirse's role.  He did mention the film was under populated, and the comment got me to thinking how much stronger the film might have been with a more robust budget.  In any event, how might one have reacted with a lesser actress in this role?  I was stuck by the ever so slight scene at the end when the severely tramatised Eddie was pricked by a thorn while in the garden, and Daisy comes to check his finger.  Before he injures himself, she's shown peering through the window at him.  Saoirse in this scene which ends the film has completely transformed the character.  She appears and feels like a totally different person from 95% of the preceding parts of the film.  The way she looks at him with tenderness and emotion while giving us the sense of her having taken charge and fully emerged as an adult was striking.

*I Could Never Be Your Woman/She does steal scenes from very experienced performers in this overlooked but charming light comedy.  I remember when I watched it for the first time, she and her mom were in the SUV with with a drop-off or pickup from school, and the camera panned to her face and I thought, "what a presence."  There was just something in the way she held the camera.  I believe this was the first scene she appeared in, but it has been a long time since I've seen the film.  It was obvious Saoirse was very comfortable delivering comic type lines.

*Death Defying Acts//I felt Saoirse was the emotional center of this film where she delivered a fine if understandable (they needed some subtitles in Trainspotting 2  :D) Scottish accent.  She was indeed the centerpiece in the most important (seance) scene.  She also was able to run through slew of emotions.  This was a assured performance from one so young.

*The Way Back/I feel she was able to make the character's inner gentleness and beauty emerge in what was a lovely performance.  Saoirse unquestionably brings a spark to the film and is a conduit to better understanding other characters.

*The Host/Without rehashing the issues with depicting the duel character, I'm very confident she is the main reason to watch this film just to see a totally committed actress with such a stunning talent level.  For a totally panned film, there are so many scenes where Saoirse is flat-out luminous.  Interestingly, in your post there was a reference to Mr. Hurt.  In the review from the great Sight & Sound magazine (the best film mag in the world), the female critic specifically said Saoirse was with her equal only when acting opposite William Hurt.  Pretty nice compliment considering Hurt is a five-time Oscar nominee.

*The Grand Budapest Hotel/Anderson is an acquired taste for some.  I enjoyed the film and was very happy for its commercial success.  I feel she was completely underutilized given her massive talent level.  The entire narrative might have been richer if her relationship with Zero was given much more time to develop.  She however again showed she's comfortable with comedic beats.

*Violet & Daisy/Kind of fun if strange film, but she did have wonderful scenes with the late Gandolfini.  Very solid effort.

*City of Ember/For a young adult film, I liked it and the concept.  I felt Saoirse had scenes where the closeups where striking.  She also clearly showed carrying film was no problem for one so young.

*The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey/This was like a well made Hallmark holiday movie for T.V.  I'm not a mean person by nature, but the main character (little boy) was a horrible actor.  Sorry but true.  First impression was she shone like a massive lightbulb when they placed the camera in her face for the first time.  It was so obvious.  Otherwise, they didn't give her much to do.

*Lost River AKA Lost Movie/What to say about this film?  I actually cringed at a scene between Billy and Dave because the dialogue was certified WTF material.  I also hoped someone kicked the living crap of the character Bully.  I hated him. ;)  Saoirse's presence was again noticeable here.  In addition, I felt after viewing it that she'd make for a very creepy witch with the back hair in one of those throwback witchy film.  Speaking of which, Barbara Steel was in this film!  Was I was a kid, they showed a film called "Black Sunday" on T.V. where she played a witch.  The film scared the shit of of me.   
« Last Edit: April 14, 2017, 02:13:38 PM by Steve 7216 »

MMSouth

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #1 on: April 15, 2017, 01:20:14 PM »
A few follow up thoughts in no particular order:

The Grand Budapest Hotel - This film is clever and witty, but then so is a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  I think you’ve hit on one key point that also occurred to me: there’s no real basis given for the attraction between Zero and Agatha.  It’s just stated by old Zero that he proposed on their third date and she accepted.  But given that their relationship underpins the whole structure of film (she is the reason that he still owns the hotel in his old age) it’s a shame that their relationship was not more fully fleshed out from the beginning.  Maybe the screenplay was too long already.  In contrast the developing bond between M. Gustave and Zero is depicted in detail.  It’s a shame that Saoirse had to play her role so straight because she’s a natural at comedy when given the chance.  She’s barely allowed to let on that she knows she’s playing in a farce.  In comparison Ralph Fiennes plays almost every scene tongue in cheek.  Zero and Agatha play key roles in the plot but they are also there to offset the over-the-top extravagance of M. Gustave.

Stockholm, Pennsylvania - Saoirse is well suited to roles where there’s a lot going on inside her character’s head.  That’s certainly the case in S-P and bodes well for some of her forthcoming projects which also have complex characters.  Leia doesn’t want to communicate and is almost entirely internalised.  She’s flat out trying to comprehend that the Grand Canyon does in fact still exist and hence to face up to the fact that Ben was feeding her untruths for all those years.  The ultimate question is whether she can find a way out of her psychological trauma or not.  Ironically her father probably had more chance of connecting with her than her mother even though he was very hands off, or maybe because he was very hands off.  The drab colour pallet of the film is probably intended to reflect Leia’s nihilist mindset.  (Leia: “What’s going to happen to me after this?”  Ben: “There is no after this.”)

City of Ember - I’m not saying that this isn’t a good kids film, it has its merits.  The set design of the underground world is impressive.  But if you look at some of Saoirse’s other early films like Atonement, Lovely Bones and Hanna the roles were very challenging and she rose to the occasion.  In the case of City of Ember the role is not so challenging and it doesn’t help that her character is a little bland and tends to be reactive rather than proactive, at least initially.  The other films were always more likely to invite serious critical assessment.

Lost River -  What was the point of making this film: was it intended as an artistic statement, was it intended as social commentary, was it intended to shock?  In a film like Brooklyn every scene is concise and has a role in progressing the story or in developing character.  But Lost River just seems to meander (as the name suggests) and at times becomes gratuitous.  It doesn’t help that the two main storey strands are mostly independent from each other.  Characters need to generate some empathy in order to give the audience a way into a story, but Lost River’s two main protagonists are not very effective from that standpoint, especially the mother figure.  Saoirse’s character Rat is more effective in that she does generate some empathy.  But why did Saoirse do this film?

The Host - You could write an essay on the flaws of this film.  The embarrassing intro, the uninspired casting, the Bond villain lair main set design, the antiseptic depiction of the seekers, the at times awkward staging.  This is all a bit surprising given that the author of the book was heavily involved in producing the film.  Perhaps the director has a lot to answer for here.  On the other hand maybe the flaws were less obvious to its intended core teenage audience.  Saoirse still manages to give a good performance, but even she and William Hurt each have a few lines that just don’t work.  In the case of Saoirse she copes pretty well with playing alongside some of the lesser actors but it’s the interior conversations that pose problems.  The eye inserts that they wore, I guess they were something like contact lenses, contribute to the slightly blank look of the occupied humans.

Byzantium - Gemma Arterton is a quality actress, but I think she and Saoirse are naturally suited to very different roles.  What works in Byzantium is the counterpoint between the two of them as mother and daughter (not so much as “sisters”).

Atonement - I’ve had this DVD for five or six years but it always struck me that the last section with elderly Briony was oddly done.  The interview format seems very out of kilter with the rest of the film.  The ending of the book was done rather differently.  It might have been better if the final scene with Cee and Robbie walking up the beach to the cottage had been viewed from child Briony’s eyes in order to relate it back to the first act, eg elderly Briony on her deathbed dreaming that she’s child Briony looking down with that steely gaze from the hill behind the beach on the happy ending that she tried to create for Cee and Robbie in her book, but then child Briony in close-up gradually breaking down in tears under the knowledge of what she did to them, and her close-up fading to grey as Briony passes on.  Done this way there would be no real atonement: in her mind Briony is still haunted by the mistake of that twelve year old kid and racked with guilt.  This might have been more dramatically effective, more like a complete tragedy.

Steve 7216

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #2 on: April 15, 2017, 11:16:09 PM »
A few follow up thoughts in no particular order:

The Grand Budapest Hotel - This film is clever and witty, but then so is a Bugs Bunny cartoon.  I think you’ve hit on one key point that also occurred to me: there’s no real basis given for the attraction between Zero and Agatha.  It’s just stated by old Zero that he proposed on their third date and she accepted.  But given that their relationship underpins the whole structure of film (she is the reason that he still owns the hotel in his old age) it’s a shame that their relationship was not more fully fleshed out from the beginning.  Maybe the screenplay was too long already.  In contrast the developing bond between M. Gustave and Zero is depicted in detail.  It’s a shame that Saoirse had to play her role so straight because she’s a natural at comedy when given the chance.  She’s barely allowed to let on that she knows she’s playing in a farce.  In comparison Ralph Fiennes plays almost every scene tongue in cheek.  Zero and Agatha play key roles in the plot but they are also there to offset the over-the-top extravagance of M. Gustave.

Stockholm, Pennsylvania - Saoirse is well suited to roles where there’s a lot going on inside her character’s head.  That’s certainly the case in S-P and bodes well for some of her forthcoming projects which also have complex characters.  Leia doesn’t want to communicate and is almost entirely internalised.  She’s flat out trying to comprehend that the Grand Canyon does in fact still exist and hence to face up to the fact that Ben was feeding her untruths for all those years.  The ultimate question is whether she can find a way out of her psychological trauma or not.  Ironically her father probably had more chance of connecting with her than her mother even though he was very hands off, or maybe because he was very hands off.  The drab colour pallet of the film is probably intended to reflect Leia’s nihilist mindset.  (Leia: “What’s going to happen to me after this?”  Ben: “There is no after this.”)

City of Ember - I’m not saying that this isn’t a good kids film, it has its merits.  The set design of the underground world is impressive.  But if you look at some of Saoirse’s other early films like Atonement, Lovely Bones and Hanna the roles were very challenging and she rose to the occasion.  In the case of City of Ember the role is not so challenging and it doesn’t help that her character is a little bland and tends to be reactive rather than proactive, at least initially.  The other films were always more likely to invite serious critical assessment.

Lost River -  What was the point of making this film: was it intended as an artistic statement, was it intended as social commentary, was it intended to shock?  In a film like Brooklyn every scene is concise and has a role in progressing the story or in developing character.  But Lost River just seems to meander (as the name suggests) and at times becomes gratuitous.  It doesn’t help that the two main storey strands are mostly independent from each other.  Characters need to generate some empathy in order to give the audience a way into a story, but Lost River’s two main protagonists are not very effective from that standpoint, especially the mother figure.  Saoirse’s character Rat is more effective in that she does generate some empathy.  But why did Saoirse do this film?

The Host - You could write an essay on the flaws of this film.  The embarrassing intro, the uninspired casting, the Bond villain lair main set design, the antiseptic depiction of the seekers, the at times awkward staging.  This is all a bit surprising given that the author of the book was heavily involved in producing the film.  Perhaps the director has a lot to answer for here.  On the other hand maybe the flaws were less obvious to its intended core teenage audience.  Saoirse still manages to give a good performance, but even she and William Hurt each have a few lines that just don’t work.  In the case of Saoirse she copes pretty well with playing alongside some of the lesser actors but it’s the interior conversations that pose problems.  The eye inserts that they wore, I guess they were something like contact lenses, contribute to the slightly blank look of the occupied humans.

Byzantium - Gemma Arterton is a quality actress, but I think she and Saoirse are naturally suited to very different roles.  What works in Byzantium is the counterpoint between the two of them as mother and daughter (not so much as “sisters”).

Atonement - I’ve had this DVD for five or six years but it always struck me that the last section with elderly Briony was oddly done.  The interview format seems very out of kilter with the rest of the film.  The ending of the book was done rather differently.  It might have been better if the final scene with Cee and Robbie walking up the beach to the cottage had been viewed from child Briony’s eyes in order to relate it back to the first act, eg elderly Briony on her deathbed dreaming that she’s child Briony looking down with that steely gaze from the hill behind the beach on the happy ending that she tried to create for Cee and Robbie in her book, but then child Briony in close-up gradually breaking down in tears under the knowledge of what she did to them, and her close-up fading to grey as Briony passes on.  Done this way there would be no real atonement: in her mind Briony is still haunted by the mistake of that twelve year old kid and racked with guilt.  This might have been more dramatically effective, more like a complete tragedy.

I'm with you concerning the observations above regarding The Grand Budapest Hotel.  Those memories of the older Zero were so critical to him and the most important part of his life.  Obviously, he had sacrificed virtually all ( or maybe all) of his fortune to buy the formerly luxurious hotel, and the reason was the impact Gustave and Agatha had on his life.  Anderson had a massive cast and a lot of shenanigans going on in the film.  Perhaps he felt Gustave and Zero's relationship was the only one he had time for considering the overall sweep of the narrative.  I just felt she could've done so much more than essentially being this lovely and angelic creature.  I guess she was very brave as well.  It was odd to me witnessing her delivering stilted lines required by this particular director.   :)

I do need to see SP again.  It along with Lost River and The Christmas Miracle of Jonathan Toomey represent three of her films I've seen the least compared to the others.  I realize why it was such an internal performance, and she indeed is well suited as any other actor to play such a role.  I might have had expectations of a real emotional breakthrough with her mom, thereby taking the film in an entirely different direction.  However, the director had other ideas.  You must admit the ending act was rather bleak and not exactly uplifting.   ;)

In City, her and the young man represented the hope of her community and shouldered the responsibility of many central figures in young adult fiction.  They need their heroes too.  Her character did have emotional attachments with the grandmother and the adorable little sister she had to take care of throughout the film. 

I'm certain Saoirse was happy to accept a role from RG as they were acquainted when he spent time on the set of The Lovely Bones before being kicked off due to some kind of clash with the director.  Clearly Gosling has been influenced by Nicolas Winding Refn, the Danish director he has worked with on more than one occasion.  Some of the strange visuals mixed with the "meant to shock" violent scenes come to mind.  I feel the entire enterprise might have been more coherent if he'd had forgone the weirdness and concentrated on the basic story of the desperate and forgotten people living in a dystopian nightmare.

We did discuss The Host in great detail on IMDB following its release.  Believe me, it was painful for all of us when the critics savaged it to no end.  First of all, the main difficulty Andrew Niccol encountered was not finding a solution as to how he might effectively portray in film media the duel characters.  That was huge.  I enjoy reading James Bernardelli, a critic who is actually still an engineer writing for "Reel Reviews."  He's honest and willing to be critical without being flat-out mean.  He admitted difficulty in trying to determine what went wrong with the film.  Was it Niccol or the actual source material?  In the end, it was indeed targeted at a teenage girl demo.  However, as I mentioned in my last post, she so fascinating to watch even with a subpar script.  For example, the scene with her (or Melanie's) little brother in that cave with all the lights was an example of how her face and eyes are able to express such subtle emotion.  She "sort of" tells the boy the scoop without fully admitting the existence of Melanie, and her character projects gentle but lovely emotion toward the boy.  She's radiant in the scene.

You're right about how Saoirse and Gemma play off each other in Byzantium.  It's a good point.  Coincidentally, I watched "Their Finest" today at Cinemark.  I've seen many of Gemma's films, and although the movie business is difficult and not always easy to predict, I've believed for a while that she should be a star.  She's done dramas quite well and shown chops in a film like Tamara Drewe, a sort of comedy-sex farce.  She's quite attractive as well, but regardless, I don't feel she has really broken through in Hollywood.

Tip of the hat for your ideas about the end of Atonement.  I was stunned when I read the novel like others.  The ending is a shock.  Here's the thing though: the novel's ending wouldn't work in the medium of film.  I think the scriptwriter came up with the scene because we're watching the T.V. interview and the part where she goes backstage for a bit and able to SEE her explain what really happened.  The scenes both real and imagined supplement the interview so beautifully.             
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 01:35:07 AM by Steve 7216 »

MMSouth

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2017, 12:36:03 PM »
Stockholm - Nikole Beckwith originally developed the story as a play and I guess she was always focussed on the mother/daughter conflict.  Personally I think Leia’s state of mind is more interesting that the mother/daughter conflict.  Leia had to break away at the end to resolve her impasse with Marcy but it looks hopeless, I mean where’s she going?  Definitely the very last scene with the kid in the park is a mistake.  Does it really represent a change in Leia’s nihilist mindset or is it just a cheap shock ending?  In fact, a lot of people think that everything after Leia returns from the prison is a mistake.  It’s a shame because the film was interestingly set up at that point and could have gone in several different directions.  Although the film was not so well received, Saoirse’s performance and its depiction of Leia’s disorientation are interesting.

City of Ember - I’ve only seen this once so maybe I’ll watch it again.  It was a good opportunity for Saoirse, not only did she play the lead role but it was filmed in Ireland.

Lost River - Yep, I think Saoirse did this film as a favour to Ryan Gosling.  The film sort of straddles genres.  But with so much screen time spent on the violent thugs and the burlesque club it’s hard to focus on the story of struggling families in disintegrating suburbia.

The Host - I think the film inherited some its problems from the book which was pretty lightweight.  As I said at the start I quite liked Saoirse’s performance, she did about as much as she could have done with the role.  But she may be a little more wary now of committing to mainstream commercial projects, not without a quality script anyway.

Byzantium - Gemma Arterton also acts in French.  She did a film called Gemma Bovary a few years back which was dual English/French language.  I think she’s doing a full French language film as well.  Interesting fact #1:  Tamara Drew and Gemma Bovary were both based on comic strips written by English author Posy Simmonds.  Tamara Drew was a riff on Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd.  Gemma Bovary was a riff on Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.  Interesting fact #2:  English actress Jessica Barden featured in the films Tamara Drew, Far from the Madding Crowd and Hanna.  She was Hanna’s friend on the road trip in Morocco.

Atonement - I read somewhere that the interview format in the fourth part of Atonement was proposed by Joe Wright but I think the way he did it clashed stylistically with the rest of the film.  There’s an Australian born critic and essayist named Clive James who’s worked most of his life in the UK.  He’s been ill for several years but was interviewed at his home in Cambridge in 2015.  The interview was set in his study with lots of warm homey tones and a tree outside the window.  If the elderly Briony interview had been done similarly it may have fitted better with the rest of film.  Certainly agree with you about the intercut scenes in the fourth part, especially Cecilia seen from below floating in the floodwaters, that one sticks in your mind.  But my overriding impression of Atonement is that the first act which plays out on that midsummer’s day at the Tallis country house is an almost perfect art film set piece.

MarkRoick

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #4 on: April 20, 2017, 01:00:42 PM »
Just some food for thought...

Byzantium was based on a play called A Vampire Story. That play and the movie's screenplay were written by Moira Buffini, who also wrote the screenplay for Tamara Drewe.

There was quite an interesting interview with Gemma Arterton I read a couple of months ago, in which she talked a bit about Byzantium. Saoirse wasn't mentioned, but she did say the original story was about the daughter character talking to a psychiatrist about her mother being a vampire (it's not specified whether this refers to the play or just the original version of the script), but when Neil Jordan was brought on board to direct it was changed to actually being a real vampire story instead of a psychological interpretation.

As for the ending of Stockholm, I interpreted it to mean simply that because of what was done to Leia by her abductor and by her own mother, she was just going to carry it on to another generation because she saw it as normal (or at the very least, acceptable) behaviour? 
“You need to do what’s right for you and what your instinct is telling you to do, because only then, I think, you can be the best version of yourself.” - Saoirse

Steve 7216

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2017, 12:47:25 AM »
Stockholm - Nikole Beckwith originally developed the story as a play and I guess she was always focussed on the mother/daughter conflict.  Personally I think Leia’s state of mind is more interesting that the mother/daughter conflict.  Leia had to break away at the end to resolve her impasse with Marcy but it looks hopeless, I mean where’s she going?  Definitely the very last scene with the kid in the park is a mistake.  Does it really represent a change in Leia’s nihilist mindset or is it just a cheap shock ending?  In fact, a lot of people think that everything after Leia returns from the prison is a mistake.  It’s a shame because the film was interestingly set up at that point and could have gone in several different directions.  Although the film was not so well received, Saoirse’s performance and its depiction of Leia’s disorientation are interesting.

City of Ember - I’ve only seen this once so maybe I’ll watch it again.  It was a good opportunity for Saoirse, not only did she play the lead role but it was filmed in Ireland.

Lost River - Yep, I think Saoirse did this film as a favour to Ryan Gosling.  The film sort of straddles genres.  But with so much screen time spent on the violent thugs and the burlesque club it’s hard to focus on the story of struggling families in disintegrating suburbia.

The Host - I think the film inherited some its problems from the book which was pretty lightweight.  As I said at the start I quite liked Saoirse’s performance, she did about as much as she could have done with the role.  But she may be a little more wary now of committing to mainstream commercial projects, not without a quality script anyway.

Byzantium - Gemma Arterton also acts in French.  She did a film called Gemma Bovary a few years back which was dual English/French language.  I think she’s doing a full French language film as well.  Interesting fact #1:  Tamara Drew and Gemma Bovary were both based on comic strips written by English author Posy Simmonds.  Tamara Drew was a riff on Thomas Hardy’s Far from the Madding Crowd.  Gemma Bovary was a riff on Gustave Flaubert’s Madame Bovary.  Interesting fact #2:  English actress Jessica Barden featured in the films Tamara Drew, Far from the Madding Crowd and Hanna.  She was Hanna’s friend on the road trip in Morocco.

Atonement - I read somewhere that the interview format in the fourth part of Atonement was proposed by Joe Wright but I think the way he did it clashed stylistically with the rest of the film.  There’s an Australian born critic and essayist named Clive James who’s worked most of his life in the UK.  He’s been ill for several years but was interviewed at his home in Cambridge in 2015.  The interview was set in his study with lots of warm homey tones and a tree outside the window.  If the elderly Briony interview had been done similarly it may have fitted better with the rest of film.  Certainly agree with you about the intercut scenes in the fourth part, especially Cecilia seen from below floating in the floodwaters, that one sticks in your mind.  But my overriding impression of Atonement is that the first act which plays out on that midsummer’s day at the Tallis country house is an almost perfect art film set piece.

I remember doing a little research about Beckwith when the announcement was made about the film and Saoirse's involvement in it.  She came from a nice place in Massachusetts call Newburyport and was involved in the art scene on many levels at a young age.  I'm also originally from Mass.  Although she is undoubtedly a talented individual, I'm always a bit leery when one directs his/her first feature film.  Originally, the word wasn't good from Sundance.  Anne Thompson, the sage observer of the film industry, was in attendance and suggested the applause at the conclusion of the film was more for the actors rather than the film itself.  Based upon your posts, it's clear you've given much more thought and consideration to the film than I ever did after seeing it on T.V.  One thing to remember is very shortly thereafter, Brooklyn debuted at the same festival and received great reviews and love from audience members.  I was watching Twitter that evening when it blew up.  So Stockholm P. immediately became an afterthought.  Franky, I feel I must rewatch it to determine if the film moves me differently compared to the initial viewing.  I'm on the same page as Mark: I believed the ending indicated Saoirse's character had been fully formed by her experience, and she was going to repeat the same behavior as her abductor.

Prior to the film debuting, I read The Host with an open mind.  There is no question about some clunky writing, and the overall work should have been much more concise.  In addition, the description of the other worlds Wanderer had lived on was cursory and felt to me like a fill-in because it was part of the character's history.  It was also derivative, but who really reinvents the wheel?  The  most compelling aspect was the developing relationship between the two women.  That was the core of the story.  The love quadrangle was key for the young female demo, but the two women in the same body and how they had to coexist and eventually work together was IMO much more resonant than any other part of the film.  That's why Saoirse's "goodbye" scene was so prominent in the last ten or so minutes of the film.

I usually see any and all art films down here, but Gemma Bovary must have opened and closed so quickly that I missed it.  I do like reading film reviews, but I don't remember TD being a riff on Far from The Maddening Crowd.  I must have totally forgotten that fact.  Yes, Barden was of course in Hanna (very funny) and a riot in Tamara Drewe.  Then she had a more traditional role in FFTMC, one where she had a small supporting part....but no comic bits.  BTW, I liked the most recent version quite a bit.  I was surprised the film wasn't placed in the awards' window of November-December.

You're not the only one who felt the ending of Atonement could have been handled differently.  jlent, who's a poster here and was one of the regulars on the IMDB boards for years, loves Atonement and wasn't thrilled with the film's ending.  It's true the first act is a great art film set piece.  Overall, I felt the scriptwriter and Joe Wright did a fine job considering the complexity of that great novel.           
« Last Edit: April 21, 2017, 01:03:33 AM by Steve 7216 »

MMSouth

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #6 on: April 21, 2017, 12:19:50 PM »
Stockholm - I still find the last scene a bit out of character for Leia and it makes the ending much more bleak than it would otherwise have been, that final twist totally changes things.  It would have been enough for her just to break away from Marcy rather than try to recreate her own childhood.  Besides, her mindset is defined by a father/daughter relationship rather than mother/daughter relationships.  I haven’t heard anyone put in a good word for Marcy and I’m not surprised.  For someone with so many psychology manuals she sure didn’t understand how to relate to her daughter.

The Host - To summarise, the most compelling part of the book (the relationship between Wanda and Melanie) was the most difficult aspect to effectively depict on the screen.

Tamara Drewe (apologies for my earlier typo) - The character parallels between Tamara Drewe and Far From the Madding Crowd are as follows:  Tamara Drewe = Bathsheba Everdene, Andy Cobb = Gabriel Oak, Nicholas Hardiment = William Boldwood , Ben Sergeant = Sergeant Troy, Fran = Fanny Robin.  The secondary character Glen in Tamara Drewe is a Thomas Hardy scholar, Hardy being the Victorian author of Far from the Madding Crowd.  Both are set in Dorset or as Hardy called it Wessex.  The town in Tamara Drewe is named Ewedown which is appropriate as Gabriel Oak was a shepherd.  However whilst Nicolas dies in Tamara Drewe it’s Sergeant Troy who dies in Far from the Madding Crowd.  So much for parallels.

Atonement - You’re right about Atonement being a fine novel, it’s got levels of literary pretence which go way over my head.  It’s also a very dense novel whereas the film is much sparser often relying on impressions conveyed without a lot of dialogue and without any voice-overs.  Joe Wright and his screenwriter were much more cerebral than the guys who did The Host.

MarkRoick

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #7 on: April 21, 2017, 01:21:59 PM »
I finished reading Ian McEwan's Sweet Tooth a few weeks ago and the ending of that reminded me quite a bit of Atonement's. I thought it was a great book, though, and it was easy to imagine Saoirse in the lead role. Maybe it's in movie development already?
“You need to do what’s right for you and what your instinct is telling you to do, because only then, I think, you can be the best version of yourself.” - Saoirse

Steve 7216

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #8 on: April 21, 2017, 09:33:03 PM »
@Mark,  I'm not familiar with the title.  I still have to go back and finish reading The Children Act.  It was very good.

BTW, I accidentally started a new thread here instead of adding to the original one by Bella.   :(


Steve 7216

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #9 on: April 21, 2017, 09:47:06 PM »
Stockholm - I still find the last scene a bit out of character for Leia and it makes the ending much more bleak than it would otherwise have been, that final twist totally changes things.  It would have been enough for her just to break away from Marcy rather than try to recreate her own childhood.  Besides, her mindset is defined by a father/daughter relationship rather than mother/daughter relationships.  I haven’t heard anyone put in a good word for Marcy and I’m not surprised.  For someone with so many psychology manuals she sure didn’t understand how to relate to her daughter.

The Host - To summarise, the most compelling part of the book (the relationship between Wanda and Melanie) was the most difficult aspect to effectively depict on the screen.

Tamara Drewe (apologies for my earlier typo) - The character parallels between Tamara Drewe and Far From the Madding Crowd are as follows:  Tamara Drewe = Bathsheba Everdene, Andy Cobb = Gabriel Oak, Nicholas Hardiment = William Boldwood , Ben Sergeant = Sergeant Troy, Fran = Fanny Robin.  The secondary character Glen in Tamara Drewe is a Thomas Hardy scholar, Hardy being the Victorian author of Far from the Madding Crowd.  Both are set in Dorset or as Hardy called it Wessex.  The town in Tamara Drewe is named Ewedown which is appropriate as Gabriel Oak was a shepherd.  However whilst Nicolas dies in Tamara Drewe it’s Sergeant Troy who dies in Far from the Madding Crowd.  So much for parallels.

Atonement - You’re right about Atonement being a fine novel, it’s got levels of literary pretence which go way over my head.  It’s also a very dense novel whereas the film is much sparser often relying on impressions conveyed without a lot of dialogue and without any voice-overs.  Joe Wright and his screenwriter were much more cerebral than the guys who did The Host.

Nicolas deserved his fate....perhaps not in that manner, but he was downright miserable to the angel he had for a wife.   :)  The sheep scene in FFTMC is so well done.  BTW, why didn't Bathsheba understand Gabriel was the one right away? 

It's definitely true, Atonement is incredibly dense.  Excellent choice of a descriptive.  Are you from the U.K. MMSouth?

MMSouth

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #10 on: April 22, 2017, 12:17:51 PM »
Not the UK.  In fact I'm from the UK's bastard offspring: Australia.  Nonetheless I'm gratified that you could think I was from the UK.  (Note on etiquette: Bastard is used as a term of affection in Australia, eg one might refer to a good mate as "you right old bastard".)

Steve 7216

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #11 on: April 22, 2017, 12:51:35 PM »
I see.  When I read the word form whilst, I immediately thought you were from the U.K.  It's a form you don't see here in the states.   

MMSouth

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #12 on: April 23, 2017, 12:37:24 PM »
One of the forum members "PMG" posted a link to an Ian McEwan interview on another thread today in which he expressed similar views on the film to those we discussed here.  I'll paraphrase, I can't remember his exact words: i) the first half was very well done, ii) Saoirse was excellent as Briony, iii) the final section was a mistake.  He even said that Joe Wright agreed the final section was a mistake!

Steve 7216

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #13 on: April 24, 2017, 02:33:19 AM »
Yes, I watched the video some years ago.  In the novel, when Briony retires to her room after the party, she has these thoughts in her mind we as readers are privy to because of the written medium.  We finally discover the shocking truth in this exceptionally quiet moment.  Although it works beautifully in the novel, it isn't cinematic in its set-up, and the screenwriter had to invent a way to convey the great and tragic reveal in the most visual of mediums.

You mentioned how it doesn't feel of a piece with the rest of the film, but let us remember she's at the end of her life and in a very different world from which virtually the rest of the entire movie takes place.

As an aside, it just struck me how vastly different Atonement is from On Chesil Beach in the flow and depth of the writing style.  And yet, OCB despite its brief length and sort of rolling momentum never seemed to have a word out of place nor an extraneous one.  I'm firm in my belief the role will be Saoirse's greatest challenge to date.

MarkRoick

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Re: Rate Saoirse's Films....
« Reply #14 on: April 24, 2017, 06:07:50 PM »
Steve, have you read the first draft of the screenplay of On Chesil Beach? I posted a link to it in another thread in this subforum. After reading the book I was doubtful that it would really be a good idea for a movie (because not a huge amount actually happens in the story, save for the extensive flashbacks), but McEwan's screenplay ties it all together really well. And to think it was only a first draft... I'm sure it will only be better when it's finished!
“You need to do what’s right for you and what your instinct is telling you to do, because only then, I think, you can be the best version of yourself.” - Saoirse