Wednesday, November 30, 2005

How I Blew the Rent Money

A Movie Review

Well an occasional anomaly in my work schedule poked up again this week, causing me to have a 3 1/2 hour gap between my last class and the start of my shift on Monday. So like any red-blooded American I decided to use that extra time to go and see a movie. Now I started out to the local 21-screen cinema complex with the intention of viewing the new Johnny Cash bio-pic Walk the Line; however I seemed to have been mistaken in my understanding of the available show times. Sadly I would not have the time to wait until the next showing of Johnny's movie, and was to committed to the idea of spending my time in the theater to simply go away. So I decided to see another movie, I had two real choices and in the end I found that I probably should have gone with that space version of Jumanji.

What I ended up seeing was the new film Rent, my reaction to which can be summed up by the phrase: "A little to blue-state for me." My understanding of Rent was that it was a musical film about 20/30 something singles living in urban NYC. This topic would have done in a pinch as a back-up movie, but proved to be not really what I had expected. Basically the film focused on three couples (one gay with AIDS, one hetero with AIDS, and one lesbian without AIDS) as well as a single hetero jewish male filmmaker (without AIDS). I figured the AIDS and homosexuality would be in the film, but I thought that it would be confined to a subplot and most of the film would be like a gritty version of Friends (oh, if only Friends had been gritty it might have been salvageable).

Now I want to say that I though the music was good, the production values lavish (in a decaying sort of way), and that Chris Columbus did what was for him a better then average job at directing the thing (it probably helped that most of the cast had been with the play on Broadway and so had essentaly been pre-directed). The story line though was kind of meandering and the film strangley paced (the first hour of the movie covers two days, the second have just under a year). My main complaint with the movie is that to me it pushed its message to far, yes tolerance is good but these people are engaging in dangerous and self-destructive behavior and the film seems to be telling me that that's okay. Now I do have sympathy for the characters, their not 'bad' people, but they're all going to kill themselves! Four of the seven already have a fatal illness(one of whom dies in the film) and the fact that the other three don't is pure luck given their lifestyles. Some characters do make progress but you get the impression that they would all benefit from some serious critical self-examination. In short, Rent serves as an unconvincing denial of the failure of a values system more concerned with pleasure and "independence" then self-control.


At 12:38 PM, Blogger Thuan The Large said...

Hey, I haven't seen the film yet, but it might change your understanding a little to know that it's based of Puccini's La Boheme. Anyway, you'll enjoy Walk the Line when you get to it. Have fun.


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