Away We Go.
A drama about a couple ready to settle down and start a life and a family together. The plot has them travelling all over trying to find a suitable place to root down and do life. And it’s not just the geography of things that gets crazy. Montreal and Madison are, in themselves, places with plusses and minuses – sure. But in each place the couple (played by John Krasinski and Maya Rudolph – an explosive, dynamic pair) knows friends or family and explores the nature of this connection on their own beliefs and preferences. The results of their journey are a number of laughable incidents, endearing moments, perfectly crafted characters, and brilliant questions about the “what” of family, love and life. Sam Mendes climbs my list of favorite directors with this title, which also sports a screenplay co-written by Dave Eggers, one of my resident faves.
I may not have typically rushed out to the theater for this film, but I did because my friend Madison snagged a supporting role (and gave a smashing performance, as expected). Since, I’ve watched it twice more on blu-ray (ooh-la-la) with friends and though it’s out of my standard genre, I really do have the likes for the finer details of this film. The film follows one of the nation’s most notorious gangsters, John Dillinger, and the FBI agents with the heavy task of catching America’s Most Wanted Criminal. I find Johnny Depp (Dillinger) most captivating in the villian-you-hate-to-love role (think: Sweeney Todd, Pirates of the Caribbean, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Blow) and even though I’ve faced many naysayers, I adore Christian Bale (FBI agent, Melvin Purvis) in controlled, composed, hero-roles. The boundaries of the law are bent a time or two, shattered most of the time, but always with this sense of philosophical after-thought for the viewer. I could become addicted to the theological after-thought. The swirling “what is right’s” are driven by the love we are falling into for Dillinger, a convicted felon, and by our adoration of his woman who we find innocent and sweet. Rights and wrongs are clouded when it comes to conclusions, but this tension inflates the film, filling it with succulent moments of life, death, despair, decision.
Oddly, I cannot remember how I found out about this movie. There had to be a source because I would have never come across it without direction. It was a PBS special that aired on television in 2009 and I was able to rent the DVD from the library this month. It was especially long (3 hours!) and the pacing certainly suffered, but the plot was shockingly engaging. I’m sold by a true story and this was. The plot built around the lives of those involved in a major car accident on the A-12 highway in England. The webbing and braiding of these stories becomes increasingly complex and the film progressively reveals more details about each of the drivers and the life that brought them to the A-12 on that day and at that very time. What should open and close as a car crash spirals into a mysterious investigation. To top it off, the commanding officer had a personal investment in various details of the mystery, raising moral and ethical questions along the way. I tired of the made-for-tv pace more than once, but my curiosity in the storyline pushed me to the end, where conclusions were reached and judgements were made. Case closed.