Alright, so I’ve finally got around to piecing together (very literally) my latest entry in the ‘5 Obstructions’ blogathon. This has been such a rewarding blogathon because it really has presented challenges I was not all that familiar with. Take last month for instance. I’ve never interviewed anyone, and yet I cannot say that anymore, for now I have! This month was a particularly challenging ‘obstruction’.
‘Write a review of a movie only by copying and pasting words (at least 5 consecutive words from one sentence) out of other reviews of the same movie.’
What the hell!?!?!
Seriously, I was at a loss, but the idea intrigued me to no end. My initial response to this was to rush out and see ‘Only God Forgives’ because the idea of me actually liking the movie and then somehow using the onslaught of negative reviews I’ve read on the film to spin into a positive review was so enticing to me. Sadly, my window closed and I wasn’t able to make the trek into Dallas to see the movie (it’s only showing at ONE theater near me, and that is still an hour away, and the ONLY showtime is 10:20 PM, which is not an easy get when you have three kids in the house). Then came the conundrum of selecting a movie and then actually finding other reviews on blogs across the internet for that same movie. How was I going to do this?
So, I kind of cheated.
Not really, but sort of. I used a fellow blogger’s ‘series’ to find a database of collective ‘reviews’ on the same film. How? Well, I hopped, skipped and jumped over to The Film Experience, where I visited his ‘Hit Me With Your Best Shot’ page, selected a movie and found a slew of linked entries to his own series. There was a bounty of films to choose from, and the great thing was that most bloggers who participated not only selected a singular shot, but put so much time and effort into explaining why that shot worked so well with the movie that I basically found a slew of movie reviews to choose from.
I went with ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley’!
I also want to note that I wanted a golden checkmark (I think I should get one for the first obstruction too, since I basically made ‘Les Miserables’, a film that I love, look like a laughable piece of garbage) so I selected ten reviews that I draw from, and I draw from them a few times. I’ve linked them throughout the review. Fighting the urge to elaborate or write my own review was hard, but it wouldn’t be a challenge of this was easy; right?
Here goes nothing!
“Let me start saying what a gorgeous movie The Talented Mr. Ripley is. It's impeccable. Such affirmation may seem exaggerated, but it's a risk I'm going to allow.
It captures Minghella’s ability to capture the ethereal beauty of the objections of our protagonist’s affections. For The Talented Mr. Ripley 'romance' seems the wrong word. Desire maybe a better stand-in. For Ripley it is as much a desire for Dickie the person as it is a desire for what Dickiere presents - affluence, being on the inside, prestige. And in that way it is not unlike a romantic gaze of something beautiful and out-of-reach. Ripley himself secretly observes Dickie throughout the first half of the movie.
Minghella was producing a sophisticated film about a complicated lunatic who coveted everything he saw, which stood in grander scale to his meaningless life. Ripley is a mooch, a counterfeit outcast in sheep’s corduroy clothing.
The very first shot, Tom Ripley, in profile, as dagger-like segments cut into his face, fragmenting him and then ultimately uniting to form a complete picture, sets up a motif that will be prevalent throughout the entire film. It is a story of a man divided of himself. One at odds with whom he has become, through the identities he has undertaken to maintain the facade of who he wants to be, and the man he actually is. The entire film is told from the perspective of where Matt Damon's "Mr. Ripley" sees himself being and where he sees everyone else. It's a daringly ambitious movie all told and threatens to go off the rails at numerous points in its journey. But Ripley is better for its lack of perfection I think. What makes it all the more impressive is that it all feels so effortless.
Visually, it's an experience that drives you through Tom Ripley's lies, and it never loses the rhythm. The tension lives in the shots, in every one of them! It remains a gripping and fascinating curiosity all the way from that schizo title card right down to the visual negation of its closet-slamming conclusion. Tom’s ultimate punishment. He does not get off scot-free. He does not get a happily ever after.
So there you have it. It is a tad short, and in parts sounds a little fragmented, but I tried to find coherent thoughts that conveyed my own feelings on the film. This was a tough one. I didn’t want to veer into plagiarism, and yet I felt like not using complete thoughts or points would make the review feel incomprehensible. I also was under the impression that I was not allowed to use my own words at all, and finding the time to actually splice together multiple sentences and thoughts into one sentence or thought was not on my side. Working 40 hours and raising three kids does not allow for that kind of time. Still, I think I did what the obstruction called for! I hope you enjoyed it.
Special thanks to Nathaniel Rogers for, unbeknownst to him, making this a tad easier on me.
I do feel like a bit of a pussy since I actually had ten pages of excerpts from reviews and yet my review is barely a page long. Like I said, I didn’t want to verge into plagiarism and the idea of using THAT MUCH from someone else’s review felt wrong. So, this is what I came up with.
Here is a complete list of the reviews I pulled from: