Wednesday, 8 August 2018

Brief reviews of 2 films I've watched recently: Thelma and Louise and Bound

- Thelma and Louise by Ridley Scott: 

When Thelma and Louise came out, I suppose it was acclaimed for itself and also for its subversion of the road movie and outlaw movie genres by having 2 lead women. The film is also about 2 women getting out and fighting back, especially in the iconic ending of them making their own choices and refusing to turn in. 
I can see Thelma and Louise as a socially significant film, but I love the film more for the script, characterisation, and acting, and the relationship between the 2 women. They are complete opposites—Louise (Susan Sarandon) is cynical and sees dangers everywhere; Thelma (Geena Davis) is naïve and sees dangers nowhere. In the film, such is a disastrous combination—they keep making bad choices, because of who they are, and things spiral out of control. At the heart of the film is the journey, the relationship between the 2 women and their dynamic, but the more fascinating character is Thelma, who undergoes the greatest change/growth during the journey. At the beginning of the film, Thelma is naïve, stupid, frivolous, and thoughtless, a housewife of a domineering husband, who goes out for the 1st time and wants to get a taste of everything that she hasn’t experienced. For a large part of the film, she annoys the hell out of me. But she changes, as she has to—she’s the one who becomes fearless, robs a store, and points a gun at a policeman. It’s like Thelma has always had a wild side, suppressed for years by an arsehole of a husband, but now it’s freed and pushed to extreme, as she’s fighting back and wishing to be in control of her life. We understand, and come to love her. 
Susan Sarandon and especially Geena Davis are wonderful in the film. The best acted scene is probably the scene near the end when they have been spotted by the police—they both talk about the future, but we can see on their faces that they both know there is nothing ahead, they’re just lying to each other and themselves. 

- Bound by the Wachowskis: 

It’s a heist film. From the social point of view, it’s important to note that the 2 main characters are lesbians. Bound is one of those few films in which the main characters are LGBT but the story is not specifically about their relationship, nor about their struggles, suffering, and coming out, i.e. LGBT+ issues. The 2 women, Corky (Gina Gershon) and Violet (Jennifer Tilly), embrace their own sexuality and have no shame in wanting another woman. They are also fully fleshed out characters, and treated like people—their lesbianism is part of who they are, but not the focus of the film. 
Apart from that, and more importantly, it’s an intelligent and captivating film, one of my favourite heist films, containing everything you need from the genre—an intelligent plan, great risks, dangerous and unpredictable psychos, things that go wrong, and our own uncertainties about the partners in crime. The best thing about Bound is perhaps the unpredictability of it all—you never know what each person might do and how they’ll react.

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