(ca) wrote: Adored this film as it began to gain a little momentum, but with 2 plot points unresolved, weirdly, it just stops and kinda leaves you hanging.Life is set in Paris and it is portrayed as both beautiful and chaotic. You're led through the wear and tear of a single mother's life with her son - including the joy and the mundane - and her attempts to balance work with the stresses of a crappy neighbour - who is also her tenant - and supporting her new employee, Song, who's just been hired as a Nanny to the young boy.Binoche is just wonderful and supporting actors (non-actors I assume) work well with what seems to be a largely improvised script.
(kr) wrote: This gem from the late 90's not only paired legends Al Pacino and Johnny Depp together, it also cemented Depp's career as an extremely versitile actor, which appears to be a rarity these days. Depp plays Joe Pistone, an undercover FBI agent in Brooklyn, sent deep into the hear of the mafia through age old and wise guy Lefty, Al Pacino. Joe soon takes on the double life of Donnie Brasco, a young up and comer and soon to be favourite of the mob, if only Donnie could juggle both his lives in order to stay alive. As ground braking as it was originally, the film still holds up tremendously to this day. It's great watching Pacino give a brilliant performance as the terminally ill and old dog Lefty, he brings a hefty emotional weight to the piece and also adds a human element, which the audience can relate to, in between all the lies and deceit that go on around him. Depp equals him, subtly playing 2 very conflicting characters, while slowly merging them together. In comparison to some of his other work, this may seem tame, but his tact for subtly here and under playing the role for the most part, really sells the film well. The support is equally strong from the likes of Anne Heche and Michael Madsen, both turning in strong performances, that bring the leading characters even more to life. The writing is tremendous, full of wise cracking put downs and threatening suggestion, Donnie Brasco is captivating till the very end, even with its sombre note. The film distinctly feels perfect also, relishing the New York and Miami beach feel perfectly, it doesnt harm the film having quite the wardrobe and music to help strengthen the vibe, mixing wonderfully between the cold and dank Brooklyn, with the glowing and neon Miami, its a nice contrast, which offers up a change in tone at the half way mark. Although there is some prominent violence in this film, its toned down when compared to the likes of Casino or Goodfellas, aiming more for a heavily character driven plot, which shocks coming more from tension rather than brutal violence. This film is jam packed with tension, especially in act 3 as the mafia begin to suspect a rat from within. It takes very simple moments and turns the entire thing into a thrilling and edge of your seat vehicle at times. Although the entire package is solid and works, there are times when needless moments kick in, a bit to much metaphorical exposition here and a bit to thrown in your face family problems here, kind of ruin the otherwise fun and thrilling experience. I understand the need for both of these, at times however dragging me so far away from what i want to see, to show me a marriage council session is not exactly engrossing, especially when it seems to have no real impact on the film. Which there lays another problem, the film could really have cut some of the more repetitive aspects out and fleshed out some of the characters a bit more, both leads families feel tacked on when they shouldnt, members of the mafia kind of come and go and are mostly forgettable. It would have been better to spend more time bringing their characters to life than trying to throw too many chips on the table. The film does hold its own, despite these minor draw backs, it doesnt really drag, the performances are solid and the entire feel of the film is grand. However a lack of solid subtext over bloats the movie, when that time could have been better spent on beefing up smaller characters.