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.

Movie Review: Good Will Hunting (1997)

*Insert clever intro that somehow relates to this movie here*.

Ladies and gents… “Good Will Hunting”.

Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a young and very intelligent man that unfortunately doesn’t live up to his full potential. Instead of using his amazing math skills to become the next Einstein, he works as a janitor while also getting into a lot of trouble during his free time. However when he meets therapist Sean Maguire (Robin William, R.I.P) they soon form a bond and Will’s life starts changing. While the overall arc of the story is fairly predictable, it’s still pretty fucking great. The plot is quite inspiring and does make you think about your life and what can/could be. It’s also very well paced and quite emotional… even made me tear up at one point. So yeah, this movie has a great plot.

The characters in this movie are all very interesting, entertaining, and believable. Matt Damon is great as Will, perfectly portraying this young man that doesn’t really believe in himself despite everyone telling him that he’s a fucking genius. Robin Williams (may he rest in peace) is fantastic as Sean Maguire, perfectly playing this kind man that wants to help this troubled young man. And the bond/chemistry between the two is very believable and makes for some pretty great scenes. Ben Affleck plays Chuckie, Will’s best friend, and he is great in this movie. Minnie Driver plays Skylar, a young woman that Will meets and starts a relationship with and she was great in the role. Stellan Skarsgård plays an MIT professor in the movie and he’s great. Casey Affleck also shows up in the movie as another friend of Will’s and he’s really good in the role. So yeah, there’s a bunch of great performances in this movie!

The score for the movie was composed by the great Danny Elfman and I think he did a really good job. His score for the movie is dramatic and emotional yet somehow still has a fairly light-hearted tone that makes it quite easy to listen to. There was one or two licensed tracks used in the movie too and those were used very well in their respective scenes.

This movie was directed by Gus Van Sant and I think he did a pretty great job. The shots look great and they never longer too long or too briefly on any moment, all the shots are at a perfect length. What’s also fun to note is that this movie was written by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, which is quite fun because it is very well written. Not only because of the previously mentioned emotional bits, but also because of this movie having a sense of humor. But it’s not just humor for the sake of comic relief, the comedy that’s in this movie feels very natural and it’s overall really funny.

This movie has been very well received. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a 97% positive rating (100% if you go by “Top critics” only) and a “Fresh” certification. On Metacritic it has a score of 70/100. Roger Ebert gave the movie 3/4 stars. And on imdb.com it has a score of 8,3/10 and is ranked #108 on the “Top 250” list. The movie won 2 Oscars in the categories of Best supporting actor (Williams) and Best original screenplay. It was also nominated for an additional 7 Oscars in the categories of Best picture, Best actor (Damon), Best supporting actress (Driver), Best director, Best film editing, Best original song, and Best original score.

“Good Will Hunting” is a great movie that tugs at the heartstrings. It has a great plot, really good characters, great performances, great music, and great directing. Time for my final score. *Ahem*. My final score for “Good Will Hunting” is a 9,88/10. Which means that it gets the “SEAL OF APPROVAL!”.

My review of “Good Wil Hunting” is now completed.

Took me fucking forever to finally watch and review “Good Will Hunting”… HOW’D YOU LIKE THEM APPLES!?