Cross Post: Bilge Pump

Hello chaps,

I’m just working through some reviews that I’ve had backing up for a while but in the midst of all this I’d like to share a review that I’ve read recently that I’ve really enjoyed reading.  Tim Lee writes the Bilge Pump blog and sifts through the worst that modern culture has to offer us.  Tim’s also got an admirable fixation with the work of Nicholas Cage and here’s his review of Cage’s recent unholy alliance with Werner Herzog to re-make/re-imagine Bad Lieutenant

nicolas-cage-hair

Crack’d actor

So here we stand at the end of another DeCage In Film. An era which started so spectacularly with Gone In 60 Seconds ends with Nic teaming up with Werner Herzog for a re-imagining, if you will, of Abel Ferrara’s Bad Lieutenant. Could The Wicker Man really be only his second most inconsequential remake? Expectations were low, but nowhere near as low as those of Ferrara himself: “I wish these people die in Hell. I hope they’re all in the same streetcar, and it blows up.”

We open with a shot of a lone snake in the water. Film students may recognise this as some kind of metaphor achat viagra livraison rapide. Pull back and it’s revealed we’re in a flooded jail cell and a prisoner is drowning. Of course Nic isn’t just going to rescue the prisoner straight away, he’s got to call said prisoner a “shit-turd” before launching into a tortuous monologue about not wanting to ruin his $55 Swiss cotton undies. Then finally he makes the two foot leap down to rescue the prisoner – don’t do it Nic!

Such an act of bravery is rewarded when he gets the Distinguished Service Cross in recognition of “extreme valour in the line of duty”… by jumping down a twofoot sheer drop.  But hang on, the film isn’t called Good Lieutenant, is it? Cut to the doctor’s surgery and the first of many dramatic bombshells is dropped: Nic will suffer “moderate to severe back pain,” possibly for the rest of his life. This news pushes Nic over the edge, the switch in his brain marked ACTING is flipped, and all of a sudden he’s Good Nic Gone Bad. At this juncture I should point out his character’s name is Terence – even the name exudes pure evil.

To finish reading Tim’s excellent review go Here.

April 26th: Diary of an animal lover.

grizzly

94. Grizzly Man (Werner Herzog, 2005)

Timothy Treadwell was an infuriating man. Determined to spend as much time as possible living amongst the grizzly bears of Alaska he filmed hours and hours of footage of his ‘work’ which consists of living with and being close to the bears. On the 6th October 2003 Timothy Treadwell and his girlfriend Amie Huguenard were killed by one of the bears he cared so passionately about. Werner Herzog has pared down the footage shot by Treadwell, added in some interviews and comments and presented a quite extraordinary documentary in Grizzly Man. What Herzog succeeds in doing is quite remarkable, where I went into the film expecting only to dislike Treadwell because of his frustrating desire to be close to a wild animal that doesn’t want him there, the finished film managed to present a depth of view that I wasn’t expecting. Yes, Timothy Treadwell was in many ways deluded about his actions and their impact. Yes, he obliterated his girlfriend from the footage to make it appear as if he was alone. But Herzog explores the question ‘Why?’ He uncovers the story of a man who repeatedly failed in his endeavours and sought to recreate himself on more than one occasion.

It is a complex journey, Herzog clearly admires Treadwell’s footage and his bravery but he also knows that the man is deluded and confused. He isn’t helping these bears as much as he is helping himself to feel as if he belongs as though he is contributing. It is difficult to view this as anything other than a false fight that Treadwell has set up to enable him to see himself as a lone hero.

Whatever your view – this sad story is fascinating and upsetting. The description from the coroner of Treadwell’s final moments is grisly, and in its own way heroic. But you won’t be able to shake the feeling that it was also, ultimately, avoidable. Grizzly Man is a superb documentary and a fascinating account of someone who failed to find a voice in the human world until he crossed the boundaries into the animal world.