Monday, September 25, 2017

Movie Monday ~ Requiem for a Dream & Hippopotamus

For our double bill, one evening last week, I picked two films from the Netflix collection pretty much at random, by title and without prior research. I thought them unlikely candidates for slash-bang, or police procedural themes - of which we've had our fill. As it turned out, though the films had very different themes, styles, and locations, there was a gauzy link between them... well, I saw one!

Requiem for a Dream, at times proved quite hard to watch, theme and style are raw and brutal!

Directed by Darren Aronofsky, the film is set in Brooklyn Beach, New York, and is worth enduring to wonder at the superb, academy award-winning performance by Ellen Burstyn. The theme of Requiem for a Dream is addiction - to various types of drug. I'll say no more, the full plot is available at the Wikipedia link above.

The second movie of our double bill : The Hippopotamus. This one, in contrast to the first, is set in a snobby, snooty region of southern England, it's an adaptation of a novel by Stephen Fry.

Nutshell: Lead character Edward "Ted" Wallace is an alcoholic washed-up poet and theatre critic. He has been fired from his newspaper job, accepts a lucrative commission from his terminally ill goddaughter to investigate rumours of miracle healings at Swafford Hall, country mansion of Wallace's old friend Lord Logan. Synopsis available at Wikipedia.

Roger Allam plays Wallace, does a lot of narrating (probably words culled directly from Fry's novel) in a beautifully modulated plummy accent, an accent quite different from his more ordinary southern English, used in his role, in Endeavour, as Detective Inspector Fred Thursday.

So...where's that promised "gauzy" link then? Well, it's Neptunian in nature (waxing astrological!) Addiction is traditionally thought to link to Neptune, as are things considered to be "miraculous". Requiem for a Dream is totally Neptunian, The Hippopotamus less so, but bear in mind that its lead character is an alcoholic and the film's theme leans on supposed miraculous healing powers of a young man.

Nutshell: Requiem is brutal but well-meaning and superbly acted. Hippopotmus is stylised and fun - though I'm not sure it is capable of being fully appreciated by any but those with a good grasp of English fads and foibles.


A Casual Reader said...

Wow, no comments?

Thanks for the tip(s)! They were good - 'Requiem' more so than the other one, but still.

The only 'off' aspect of 'Requiem' were the actor's teeth. The Make-Up Dept. should have dirtied them up some and, in a few cases, rotted them out. As they were, they provided a glaring example of 'UN-unreality' in a movie about ... unreality. How Neptunian is that?

'Hippopotamus' would've been better if the crew who made 'Downton Abbey' had taken it on.

Nevertheless, thanks!

Twilight said...

A Casual Reader ~ Oh - I'm so pleased you saw and enjoyed the films!

Hmm - comments can be thin on the ground in these days of smartphones and Facebook, etc. etc. etc. - but as a poet once wrote "We also serve who also stand and wait...." ;-)

Yes, I do agree on your observation about teeth in"Requiem". Similar applies to some films with themes based in times past - the sight of a full set of wonderfully architectural, blindingly white noshers is off-putting, or even giddy laughter inducing if enough has been drunk beforehand. And yes, some of the cast of "Hippopotamus" were simply not quite unbearably "posh" enough to elicit the kind of laughs Steven Fry must have envisioned.