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Thursday, October 20, 2011

Six Feet Under (2001-2005)

When I told people to check out the series, ‘Six Feet Under’, they all asked the same question- “What is it about?” I had no answer, so I said “Just watch it.” A number of possible answers came to mind but none of them could accurately represent what the series was really about. When I finished it, I found the correct answer to the question- Life and Death. That is what Six Feet under is about. It’s funny I didn’t get the answer before. The celestial opening theme suggests just that. It seemed apt for the series but I never asked what about it made it apt.

Six Feet Under revolves around a funeral home, Fisher & Sons. Every episode begins with introducing new characters, one of which contributes to the family business by, well, dying. The deaths fade to white, instead of black, because it is these deaths that fuel the fisher family, and the series. Ironically, the pilot episode begins with the death of Nathaniel Fisher, the patriarch of the family and the owner of the business. His younger son, David, plays by the book and makes funeral arrangements for his father while battling with his own sense of shock. His elder brother, Nate, is an extreme libertarian. He continuously grunts at the subdued way with which people choose to grieve. The youngest, Claire, complies with indifference. Their mother, Ruth, drowned by ambivalent feelings confesses that she’s been having an affair with her hair dresser. This episode establishes clearly the personalities of the Fisher family. How they progress or regress, you will see for yourself.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Drive (2011) - Review/ Analysis/ Interpretation/ Spoilers

After the pulsating ten minute heist (ending with Ryan Gosling almost going face to face with a cop to ooze ‘cool’) comes the title sequence in pink font with electro house music playing in the background. I don’t know why but something about it told me the film was set in the late eighties. Now, I’m expecting Drive to plunge into the darkness of neo-noir with Driver being the hero, as opposed to, a character. But then, the stoic Driver flashes an effeminate smile and descends into a montage that is, set near a pond and guided by a pop track with lyrics like “A real hero, a real human being”. Now, I’m embarrassed. I’m skeptical about how this is going to turn out. Seriously, what the heck is this kind of music doing in a neo-noir? This is just what I’d expect to see in a chick flick or a daytime TV movie. It only gets worse when you have to play spectator to the awkward stares shared between Driver and Irene (Carey Mulligan). Watch the film a second time and you’ll see these scenes exist for characterization purposes.

When I first saw the trailer for Drive, I was expecting an action film and a charismatic Ryan Gosling. That’s how the movie presented itself to be. If you’ve seen the trailer, you know the film’s plot. However, the film isn’t plot centric. It has action, crime and it is fairly dark but I’d categorize it as a character study. With very little dialogue, Nicolas Winding Refn has managed to vividly characterize his players.
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