Ain’t Them Bodies Saints is little more than a New Hollywood pastiche, a loving and careful waxworks recreation of a style and type of cinema that was at one time, a great many years and Hollywood eras ago, the most lively and startling thing to ever happen to American cinema. As a film, David Lowery’s recreation of that style has not one new idea to bring to the table the New Hollywood built out of rustic, unpolished wood and then abandoned long ago. All Lowery is doing is digging through scrap heap, separating out the noble rust from the ignoble variety, and refashioning it into a garage sculpture where the very nature of the metal – falling apart, worn to the point of triteness – is a badge of honor, a reminder of how old this sort of tale really is, and how lively it can still feel when it is carted out after it hasn’t seen the light of day in too long. It doesn’t offer a new idea, but it offers a more humble reminder: in the New Hollywood of the 1970s, we now see not only a scorching fresh breath into the room of Hollywood’s musty old classicism, but a peculiar, well-worn form of old-timey comfort. Those New Hollywood films are now part of the classic American cinematic tradition, and Lowery is merely playing a requiem for them. Continue reading
This post being in honor of the upcoming release of David Fincher’s Gone Girl, his most recent descent into the slickly sick world of melding the realm of decaying and grotesque pulp fiction with the middlebrow machinations of Oscarbait.
It’s a prime irony that a director birthed in the mucky slums of trashy genre cinema took on a book that deals almost exclusively in the lurid kitsch of BDSM, self-hate, melodrama, and open-faced pulpy eccentricity and, of all things, he produced something that feels amorphously like it desperately wants to be an Oscar film. Somewhere along the way, David Fincher became a famous big-budget director and, one year after achieving true greatness with The Social Network, success got to his head, and he forgot that deconstructing journalistic identity, vis a vis Zodiac, and directing a glossy exploitation film are two different things. Continue reading