Movie Review: Suffragette (2015)

Women. Half the world’s population. The main reason that any of us exist. Without women, the world would be completely fucked. So when I look back on history, I find it quite disheartening that these essential and amazing beings have had to go through so much hardship… and that they still kind of do these days. Hopefully we can better ourselves soon.

Disclaimer: I know this thing is based on a true story, but I will not base my review on how perfectly accurate to the real situation it may or may not be, but I will instead judge it as a movie… which it is. Disclaimer over.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Suffragette”.

London, 1912. Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) is a laundry worker. She soon finds herself getting acquainted with the suffragette movement, and eventually joins them in their quest for voting rights. So now we have our historical drama. And is this plot any good? Yeah, it’s really good. It’s an engaging and at times even disturbing narrative, showing what kind of hardships and horrors these women had to go through, just because they wanted to be able to vote. At times it almost slips into pander-y Oscar bait, but it never falls into that trap, succesfully keeping a good balance of historical and emotional storytelling.

While I don’t think any of the characters are necessarily bad, I just didn’t find myself fully interested in all of them… found several of them a little undercooked. Carey Mulligan plays Maud Watts, a young mother and laundry worker who gets involved with the suffragettes. She’s determined and smart, but she does also show a more vulnerable side of herself, giving her a bit more depth as a character, and I actually cared about her quite a bit. And Mulligan is of course fantastic in the role. Helena Bonham Carter plays Edith Ellyn, a pharmacist and suffragette. She’s tough as hell and is always willing to stand up for her rights. And while I applaud those traits, I never found the character to be the most well realized. But I can say that Carter is great in the role. Ben Whishaw plays Sonny, Maud’s husband. While he is supportive of his wife, he is quite torn about her getting involved with the suffragettes’ protests. And while that could be interesting, they don’t go the full length with that and it becomes okay at best. Whishaw is really good at least. And I’m just gonna say it, what I said about Whishaw’s and Carter’s characters kind of goes for all the other ones as well… not bad, just slightly undercooked. At least we get some damn solid performances throughout the movie from people like Brendan Gleeson, Anne-Marie Duff, Meryl Streep, Geoff Bell, Romola Garai, Finbar Lynch, and many more.

The score for the movie was composed by Alexandre Desplat, and I think he did a great job with it. What I liked most about it is that whether a track goes for sweeping and dramatic, or smaller and more personal, it always has a solid emotional core that makes the score some real ear candy. Seriously, it’s fucking beautiful.

This movie was directed by Sarah Gavron and I think she did a really good job with it. What I like about directing is that it’s versatile. When things are a bit more calm and contemplative, the camera is steady. But when things get more intense and (for lack of a better word) action-packed, it gets a bit more shaky, but never so much as to be a pain. I saw one guy describing it as a bit Paul Greengrass-ish, and I think that’s a pretty good description of it. And I think it really adds to the movie.

This movie has been pretty well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 72% positive rating. On Metacritic it has a score of 67/100. And on imdb.com it has a score of 6,9/10.

While flawed, I still think “Suffragette” is a really good and important movie. It has a great plot, some okay characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing. As previously mentioned, I found some of the character work here to be a bit lackluster, but that’s about it for flaws. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Suffragette” is an 8,87/10. So while flawed, it’s still worth buying.

My review of “Suffragette” is now completed.

Nice to see Helena Bonham Carter going for a more “normal” role for once.

Movie Review: Sleepers (1996)

It’s kind of incredible how something that at a point seems so innocent can turn into something horrible. This theme has been explored in film multiple times, “Atonement” (a movie I reviewed a while back) is only one example. And even though we’ve seen it several times, it is still endlessly fascinating.

Ladies and gentlemen… “Sleepers”.

The story follows a group of four friends. When they were young they meant to pull a prank, but it went disastrously wrong, which got them sent to a youth detention center. There they endured brutal abuse by multiple caretakers. And this plot follows the friends before, during, and after their horrifying time at this detention center and how it affects their lives. It might sound like I’m spoiling the plot of this, but I’m really not. I give you what you need to know to understand what it’s about… but I’m keeping enough away as to not spoil it. Anyhow, is this plot good? Yes. It’s dark, disturbing, and harrowing, but it’s still interesting and kept me engaged from start to finish. It is a long movie, and it does feel like it. While I’ve watched movies with much worse pacing than this, there were still moments where the pacing dragged a little bit. But those moments aside, this is a truly engaging plot.

I’m not gonna talk too much about the characters here, because their personalities and paths are better experienced rather than explained. But in the core cast of friends we have Jason Patric, Brad Pitt, Billy Crudup, and Ron Eldard. And they are all great in the roles. Then we have Joe Perrino, Brad Renfro (R.I.P), Geoffrey Wigdor, and Jonathan Tucker as the young versions of the four friends. And they all do very well in the roles as well. Then we have Robert De Niro as a goodhearted priest, and he’s great in the role. Then we have Kevin Bacon as one of the “caretakers” at the detention center, and his character is an absolute fucking scumbag… and Bacon is really good in the role. And then there’s a bunch of great supporting work here from people like Dustin Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Vittorio Gassman (R.I.P), Frank Medrano, and many more. Not a weak link in this entire cast.

The score for the movie was composed by the one and only John Williams and let’s fucking face it, the man can do no wrong. The score is emotional, tense, and just overall fits the movie very well, often taking scenes from “pretty good” to “wow” levels. Seriously, it’s great. Williams is a master.

This movie was written and directed by Barry Levinson and is based on a book by Lorenzo Carcaterra. As for the accuracy to the book, I can not attest as I have not read it at the time of writing this. But I can speak for how Levinson did in writing/directing, and I think he did a damn good job. His direction is very tight and really pulls the viewer into the scene, making you feel like you’re there with the characters. He even manages to create some decent tension throughout, which is really cool. The cinematography by Michael Ballhaus is also pretty damn good. My only real flaw within this whole “technical/general stuff” part is that there were some weird edits thrown into certain parts of the movie. I kind of get what they were going for with those small edits, but it took me out of the movie for a moment or two when it happened. It’s not enough to break the movie for me, but it does bring it down a couple of notches.

This movie has gotten a little bit of a mixed reception. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 74% positive rating and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 49/100. Roger Ebert gave it 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 7,6/10.

“Sleepers” isn’t an easy watch, but it’s definitely worth your time. It has a really good plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and really good directing/cinematography. As previously mentioned, I did have a couple of flaws with it. The pacing in a couple of moments dragged a little, and there were a couple of weird edits. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Sleepers” is an 8,99/10. While flawed, It is still definitely worth buying.

My review of “Sleepers” is now completed.

If you sleep through this movie, I will appreciate the pun and then yell at you.