This. Movie. Is. Bonkers…!
But bonkers in a wonderful way! A nightmare that’s beautifully rendered and with performances as committed as you could wish for. Despite some great reviews I put off watching this, not being a fan of torture porn. But Mandy isn’t torture porn, so I would allay those fears for anyone else put off for this reason. It’s probably one of the best looking movies of the year and if you roll with the tone it’s quite a ride.
Operation Finale (Netflix production)
Great cast. Isaacs is solid; charismatic and believable as usual. Kingsley gives a character who’d be 1 dimensional in most hands a degree of wit and humanity. It’s another Kingsley masterclass in the sometimes simmering, sometimes explosive evil that he portrays better than any other actor (see Sexy Beast
and polanski’s Death and The Maiden
; the latter captive aspect is very similar to this film).
However, the direction is workman like and the script ok, but undistinguished. I gather it’s based on a true story, but it felt like they took too few artistic liberties, particularly and ironically in the finale. It would all read nicely on paper, but lacks the spectacular that it needed on screen.
This may be symptomatic of Netflix processing of script and production, since it’s other Oscar Isaac movie Triple Frontier suffered the same issue (though to a far greater extent). It all feels a bit production line, much like the old studio movies; quantity trumping quality. Makes one appreciate the extra time taken to do Bond.
I’ve been looking forward to this sequel for about 20 years. Can anything satisfy such a wait?
More yes, than no!
Glass isn’t really a sequel, but the third part of a trilogy.
Unbreakable is for me a perfect movie; I’d change nothing about it. But it did leave huge questions and begged a continuation.
Split was a very fine return to form for Shyamalan after making increasingly awful films for almost 2 decades (few filmmakers come back from such a run). But thanks to material, characters and a subject that are a muse for Shyamalan, he’s more or less achieved that come back.
Set in a mental institution, Glass’ central thread is the question: are these ‘super powers’ real or in the minds of our 3 protagonists/antagonists? I certainly won’t answer that here - you’ll have to watch it - but this thread is imo a triumph. Shyamalan works miracles here and the cast all deliver.
What’s pleasantly surprising with Glass is its scale. It could’ve gone big and epic, but instead it’s a tight character study; a meditation on the character’s motivations and a welcome antidote to the increasingly banal and derivative Marvel tent poles.
Being the third in the trilogy does it wrap things up to a fan’s satisfaction. Pretty much, yeah! There’s a few surprises that are welcome and a few beats that are disappointing. I can see why the story needs these beats, but there may have been ways of presenting them in a less trivial way (I guess it’s one beat in particular I’m talking about here). For a movie so long in the writing it seems oddly lazy - unimaginative. It serves the plot rather than the character and that sadly is a staple of Shyamalan’s bad movies.
The whole comic book angle seems at times crowbarred into the dialogue because it’s part of the brand and Shyamalan is obviously keen to keep reminding us of that. I think that he gets this wrong; it’s essential to Mr Glass’ interpretation of events, which is an interesting angle. But when it also becomes other characters interpretation it unnecessarily saps an essential realism from the the world they inhabit. That realism is the very thing that made Unbreakable and Split so outstanding.
But on the whole Glass works very well and is another brave, smart, grown up movie about people with ‘super powers’.
One last thing… Glass includes By far Shyamalan’s worst acting. He likes to do a Hitchcock and write himself into his movies. The guy is a terrible actor, but often it’s a fleeting part and he gets away with it. Here it’s a part that if another actor had played it would have been 20 seconds tops. Shyamalan’s apparent delusions of grandeur see him stretch this part out to what seems like and eternity of self conscious shifty eyed, grimaces and stilted dialogue. I’m guessing it’s about 3 minutes… that’s 3 pages that adds nothing and could’ve gone altogether without effecting story or character… the man’s got a screw loose, surely!
I can imagine how crushing that must be for the editor, to make the best film they can, but have to massively over extend this scene, because it’s the filmmaker is sat next to you saying, “Gee, this stuff’s great! Make it longer, let it breath, it’s got Oscar performance written all over it!!!”
The movie’s psychiatrist states that her speciality is Delusions of Grandeur… I wonder if Shyamalan is aware that he suffers this himself when he sabotages his own movies by over extending his terrible acting?