Saturday, February 16, 2008

A Look Ahead to Best Adapted Screenplay.

The nominees are:
- Atonement (Christopher Hampton)
- Away from Her (Sarah Polley)
- The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (Ronald Harwood)
- No Country for Old Men (Coen brothers)
- There Will be Blood (PT Anderson)

How I did: 80%, not bad. I guessed Into the Wild would get nominated over Away from Her. I think it's worth nothing that these were all like, indies. How cool is that?

So, onto the rankings…

01. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’s plot interested me deeply when I first read of it: Jean-Dominique Bauby, the editor of the French Elle, suffers an accident that leaves him with “locked-in” syndrome, utterly paralyzed, except in one eye. Screenwriter Ronald Harwood had to portray having this syndrome that did justice to its artist. And he succeeds terrifically. Despite the depressing topic of physical encripplement, there’s a bit of wry, bittersweet humour in this film, though DB&B is still a painfully poignant experience at times – Bauby is a hard, selfish bastard, and in one scene his ex-lover and mother of his children has to translate a conversation between him and another woman (cringe). And yet, in spite of many his character flaws, we still feel a lot of grief and empathy for Jean-Do, in his realisation of the many people he has hurt over his life, ad how he may ever be able to make up for it. Still, the film’s key point is an uplifting one - Bauby realising that he is not devoid of the two key things in his life: his imagination and his memory. Using these two, he escapes his physical limitations (the diving bell) and soars like a butterfly.

Whenever the words “based on a true story” come up they usually make me groan, but here, it inspired me in the best way possible. A lovely piece of work. A.


02. No Country for Old Men
As a lot of newspapers and film magazines have picked up on, many of the lines in Cormac McCarthy’s novel could have been thought up by the Coens themselves, chiefly the:

Llewelyn Moss: If I don't come back, tell mother I love her.
Carla Jean Moss: Your mother's dead, Llewelyn.
Llewelyn Moss: Well then I'll tell her myself.
bit, but the dialogue in this film feels so effortless Coenesque. Some of the lines would seem bizarre in other movies, but within the Coens’ film, they feel natural. A-

03. Away from HerAdapted from the short story “A Bear Came Over the Mountain” by Alice Munro, Polley expertly portrays the tragedy of having Alzheimer’s. For someone so young, Sarah Polley captures the inside and outs of growing old with wisdom and intelligence. B+

04. There Will Be Blood
Based upon Upton Sinclair's novel "Oil!", but focussing more on the dad than the son, There Will Be Blood is a sprawling, sometimes difficult to watch, epic of all the biggies: power, family, faith and oil. The film is about Daniel Plainview, a silver-miner come oil tycoon whose thirst for power and oil and his corruption and deception in attaining it get between all his human values – love, hope, and even the bond between father and son. This is a very dark story, where the dialogue is precise and used sparingly, and even if PT Anderson does overdo it with his central theme in the final minutes, this remains a well written film, developed well to suit Anderson's own ideas. B+


05. Atonement
No, the script’s not bad or anything! It’s just the rest of the nominees are too damn strong. Adapting from Ian McEwan’s bestselling train-journey read, Christopher Hampton condenses the three parts into a fluid story. He captures the fickleness of the upperclass spot-on (the Tallises love Robbie originally, but he falls from their grace in about a second), as well as keeping Briony’s motives for her lie a bit of an enigma – did she tell it because she genuinely believed it to be the truth, out of jealousy toward Cecilia, or because Cecilia ignored her? B+.

Who will win: No Country for Old Men
Who should win: The Diving Bell and the ButterflyWho deserved to get nominated: Zodiac (James Vanderbilt)


Catherine said...

As regards Atonement, I haven't seen it yet but from various reports I've read and clips I've seen, it seems as if the film adaptation took the story as more of a regular narrative, rather than the intellectual meditation on storytelling that the novel is. How do you feel about that?

Adele said...

your most likely right. i agree with most of your thoughts.x

Banana Raccoon said...

I'd never really thought about it!

Let's see... at some parts, I did feel the film felt more "cinematic", and the storytelling was much more linear than the book. However, there were still the odd flashback, and the whole thing with the note was replayed several times. Furthermore, as I found some parts in the book quite boring, I really didn't mind.

I would have been quite interested to see them do more with the different p.o.v.s (they had the fountain scene shown through Briony's eyes and then played between Robbie and Cecilia but I think that was it), but overall, I don't think it detracted from the film.