December Downers

I just saw The Good Shepherd and Blood Diamond. Talk about downers...but seriously, they were both excellent films. Both were very intense and a tad too long. But what can you expect from serious movies; they serve their purpose around the holidays. It's the time of year where people actually allow dramatic, plot-heavy films. It's the Oscar push in December, after all.

Blood Diamond was a bit too preachy, with its epilogue about Sierra Leone. It was very educational and took a stance to show you the evils of buying conflict diamonds. Sadly, I was remembering all the Defamer posts about the film, LA makes me so cynical. But really, lots of people get killed to emphasize the seriousness of subject matter. I mean..alot. They show women and children being shot to death or have their limbs cut off by RUF soldiers (the insurgents against the government). And to add to the fucked up situation, the RUF brainwashed kids to kill people. That's pretty heavy. Djimon Hounsou (the guy from Amistad) was very good. He never does bad work. And Mr. Dicaprio actually might be deserving of that Golden Globe nom. His accent was perfect, never lost. Jennifer Connelly was boring, but it was the script's fault. Not much character development for anyone besides DiCaprio & Hounsou. I got teary-eyed for a few moments, but I caught myself. I felt Edward Zwick was manipulating me in those moments. The guy did direct Glory, he knows how to pull on people's heart strings. Hell, it was still good though. B+

The Good Shepherd was serious in another way. It was sorta based on true events, but not as relevant to current events as Blood Diamond. Shepherd, directed by Robert De Niro, is about how the CIA got started. Apparently, Edward Wilson (Matt Damon) was at the heart of it, working in the counter-intelligence department. It's a spy thriller all about trusting no one and ending up alone. Billy Crudup plays an excellent British spy, almost makes me forgive him for the Claire Danes bit (not enough tho). I won't give the plot away, since it's a whodunnit type thing. It follows Wilson and how he came to be in the CIA and how the Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba got fucked up essentially. They believe they have a "stranger in their house", i.e. they've got a leak. It's Edward Wilson's job to figure that kinda shit out so stuff goes down smoothly. It's pretty fucking long and intense. So go to the bathroom beforehand if you catch my drift. Or just wait for Netflix. Angelina Jolie plays his wife, who hates being married to someone so distant as an CIA operative. Basically, that's life and Edward will be a spy for the rest of his life. They aged both of them very well, since the movie spans about 25 years. Very nice work done by Mr. De Niro. I just say he needs a better editor, the pace was a little too slow. A-

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