Too often, filmmakers treat age as a character trait in and of itself. The elderly are depicted rarely in cinema, and, the few times that they are shown, their seniority often dominates their characterization to the point where anything else about them gets occluded. Some notable exceptions are Michael Haneke’s Amour and David Lynch’s The Straight Story, but films such as these are outnumbered by the bland Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films and their ilk. Most frequently, films mark their aged subjects as “old” and show little interest in them beyond that.
45 Years Written by Andrew Haigh Directed by Andrew Haigh UK, 2015 From director Andrew Haigh (Weekend, HBO’s Looking) comes 45 Years, a film framed around the isolating nature of enduring romantic love and how closely we tie our sense of self to an idealized notion of becoming one with a partner. Kate and Geoff Mercer …
What’s the best way to wrap up a big long story? Do you concentrate on the characters, ensuring that their journeys come to an end in a satisfying manner? Is it a matter of destroying the world you have set up to justify the use of such a clinical term as ‘the end’? Or is it a case of doing both, throwing every last inspired thought and radical idea into the pot for one final thrill ride both visceral and emotional
Dexter, Ep. 8.09, “Make Your Own Kind of Music”: effective plot twists spring hope for the final episodes
The most obvious element to take from last night’s Dexter, in terms of reference and connection, is the use of the titular song, a piece of music immortalized by Lost’s second season opener. But oddly, the twisty turny nature of the plot has a far greater debt to the show’s own history that, while hardly reeling back the years, acts as a very enlightening and thoughtful rethink of some of the series’ greatest themes. Revelations and shock reveals, another connection to ABC’s mega hit, show that as bizarre as it seems, the writing team has actually gone back and watched the seasons they didn’t write and have developed a nice echo to greater days. Following last week’s excellent “Are We There Yet?”, “Make Your Own Kind of Music” has found some consecutive consistency.
Oh God, here we go again…once again words leave the lips of a viewer with multiple interpretations, and once again the least likely is the emotion behind the utterance. Ever since the beginning of its fifth season, Dexter has taken pleasure from torturing its fans with its frequent mood whiplashes and dips in quality, hitting lower and lower marks before somehow returning to a comfortable height in a breakneck maneuver. It would be nice if there was some consistency. What we’ll have to settle with instead is the fact that the rollercoaster is heading upwards again. Yes, two weeks after seemingly destroying its own legacy in suicidal abandon, Dexter is alive and kicking again.
The one perverse positive of producing a turgid piece of dross is that it immediately sets the bar so low that virtually anything can top it and look reasonable by comparison. After last week’s nightmare of a bore-fest ‘A Little Reflection’, Dexter could quite comfortably fills its episodes with serial-killer-killer-killers or murderous clowns and not worry about the disconcert growing greater. Fortunately, a writing team that has become the bane of a show’s loyal fan base don’t quite push the envelope that far down stream, instead opting for a continuation of their scatter shot story with ‘Dress Code’ and deciding to replace time killing with people killing. Plot, in other words.
Last night, Dexter crossed the line. There, ladies and gentlemen, is a sentence that has been gathering dust in a drawer in wait for the appropriate moment, when the expletive finally hit the fan. It is the final season after all, so this would be the perfect time. Unfortunately, its use here is not what was wanted, needed…Dexter Morgan did not cross the line, the show that shares his name did. Half way to the end, six episodes into the last saga, the series has dropped its worst episode to date on its ever decreasing fan base. It didn’t cross the line by going to the extreme, taking a wild route. Chance would be a fine thing. No, ‘A Little Reflection’ flipped the bird at its audience by way of being surely the most boring thing ever to have a serial killer as a protagonist. Then it tried to make amends in utterly incredulous fashion. Last week’s episode was worrying; this one confirmed that concern was justified, and that its probably too late.
Just like an inherently destructive loved one; infuriating you, disappointing you, breaking your heart, only keeping the bond alive with rare flashes of nostalgic familiarity, then finally sucking you back in when the exit door looks inevitable with the palpable suggestion that things, finally, will be as great as they can be. Such is the existence of the loyal fan, forever questioning whether that connection you share with a material that once seemed life affirming is an irrationally emotional one. It is apt that last night’s episode of Dexter vaguely centered on the significance of family, because at times this show seems, appropriately enough, like the proverbial black sheep.
The trouble with ending a story is that too many people want too many different things, the author included, and quite often the natural endgame to set up is the one that people are afraid to see. It’s a scary thought, after all, if you’ve been invested in something for it to come to an end. We all want different things, have different expectations and not everyone will be satisfied with the result. With Scar Tissue, the fourth installment of Dexter’s final season, it has become clear that the last great chase will focus almost entirely on its two central characters, not villains of the week or rival serial killers. Unfortunately, with the episode’s indecisive conclusion, the chosen direction is not in the slightest bit clear. Fear, it seems, has crept into the men and women behind the TV monster.
Your mileage may vary on the merits of Dexter taking three episodes before actually doing some Dexting. Not the traditional definition, this term in this context refers to seeing the titular character doing what he does best, scouting and hunting out potential prey by occasionally ingenious and always casual ways. Ironically, in an episode that closely hammers home the point that Dexter is indeed “perfect”, but only in one avenue, that talent itself is left on the backburner in favor of personal drama. Misleadingly titled as far as content goes, this is another outing of the Deb & Dex show, heavily laced with former’s downfall and the latter’s soon to be legacy.
Via an old VCR tape recorded onto a DVD, we see a concerned Harry Morgan in full uniform at an office belonging to a renowned neuropsychiatrist, sharing details that go far deeper than personal. His ten year old adopted son is continuing to show terrifyingly monstrous tendencies, fascination with death and bloodshed, and every attempt he has made to shock him out of his murderous reverie has backfired on him.
For a long term fan, nearing the end of Dexter Morgan’s journey is an experience that holds a tangible fear and pang of panic in one’s stomach. Not because of the fact that it will soon all be over, one of TV’s most immorally ambitious tales ever reaching its final chapter. The trouble has come with the undeniable rut that has set in the minutes following the harrowing ending to Season Four, when a writing team who had canvassed together a quadrilogy of emotive, compelling and unforgettable continuing stories stepped out the back door. By September 22nd, this will mean that a full half of the show’s run has been beset by a gang of scribes who too often have revealed themselves as producing well financed fan fiction. The real fear, ultimately, is that they will screw it up at the punch. ‘A Beautiful Day’, the opening salvo of the last hurrah, proves inconclusive in this regard.
Adapted by John Banville from his Man Booker Prize-winning novel, The Sea is a reflective but laboured character study, set in an Irish seaside town. After losing his wife to cancer, Max (Ciarán Hinds), an alcoholic art history dilettante, moves back to the place where he and his family used to spend their summer holidays, revisiting the scene of a childhood trauma in an attempt to forget his current plight. His memories are shown in flashback, depicting the summer leading up the event, when Max became friends with an eccentric, wealthy family who were renting a house in the town.
It is the second week of the contest, and this is traditionally when we first start feeling a little horror burnout. This year was no exception, but I managed to trudge through it and watch 13 films, and some were even good. The week started on a high note with Lucio Fulci’s City of The …