Saturday, May 01, 2004
-----------------------Belated Film Reviews
The Limey (Soderbergh, Terrance Stamp, Henry Fonda,1999): 7.5/10
The attempted moral horror in this film is not what makes it stand out, and those who suggests otherwise are being a little disengenuous. What's the moral horror after all? An ex-con tries to find his daughters killer and the path boomerangs back to himself. Its not a revelation because his shitty relationship with her is fleshed out all through the movie in retro sixties flashbacks. Some critics mention the Limey as a contrast to Kill Bill or Tarantino perhaps, but I suspect they like the film precisely because of its similarties. What makes the Limey get attention is its clever editing and use of old footage as flashbacks, and on top of that, its dead pan dialogue that reminds of a certain diner. Enter old crazy brit into Californian landscape with ex-con Hispanic sidekick and the script writes itself.
Stamp: I'm gonna have a butcher's look.
Guzman: who you gonna butcher?
Stamp: Butcher? hook, look?
Stamp: Where did she meet this bloke?
Guzman: She said she met him at a beach...said she was blinded by his smile. Can you believe that shit man--The motherfucker never smiled at me.
Black Cop (played by token black guy from Predator):
There's one thing I don't understand. That one thing I don't understand is every motherfucking word you said.
Assistant to Bad Guy: He said, "Tell him I'm coming."
Fonda (Bad Guy): Tell him I'm coming?
Assistant to the Bad Guy: Tell HIM I'm coming.
Fonda: ...Jesus, you sound like the six o'clock news.
Assistant to the Bad Guy: Who the fuck are you? You're not even God.
If the dialogue highlights the moral bankrupt landscape, it also includes exchanges between the heroes of the film, don quixote (terrance stamp) and sancho panza (luiz guzzman). It includes most of what some people like about Tarantino (good music, dialogue, and bad-ass posturing) and excludes what some don't (extreme masturabatory impulses). That films are so deviod of meaning these days that one confuses the presence of meaning with "moral horror" is somewhat amusing.
What I've mentioned so far may seem like a caricatured premise with tongue-in-cheek dialogue. The enduring virtue of the film is not what Soderbergh has created, but what he has brought to light. And that is the out-takes from the old Terrance Stamp movie, which provide the backbone for the rare humanizing moments.
I don't think the sidekick roles are going to end for Luiz Guzman until he actually plays Sancho Panza in a Don Quixote movie.