For us, the cinema remains the ideal place to hide from the cruel world. However, you may also be faced with cruelty there. As in the Mauritanian which tells the story of a young man imprisoned at Guantanamo for fifteen years. Or as in Fall, in which John has to face his cruel father Willis.
Mauritanian: at the very end comes the real shock
Movies about terrorism, Hollywood has gotten a little more careful with it. Of course, a movie like Dark zero thirty can. The hunt for Osama Bin Laden and – important! – the victory of the United States: of course we want to film that! But people prefer to stay away from the ugly side of their own history. Unless this “man” is called Kevin Macdonald, of course, the director who rose to fame with The Last King of Scotland at Inventory.
Meet Mauritanian Macdonald talks about the spot called Guantánamo Bay based on the true story of Mohamedou Slahi. In 2001, about two months after September 11, Slahi was arrested in his home country. From there he was transported to a prison in Jordan and from there to Afghanistan before disappearing in Guantánamo Bay. During this time, his family was not informed and he was not charged with anything.
Another three years later, the case of Nancy Hollander (Jodie Foster) is heard, here played by Jodie Foster. She is drawn to the case and along with Teri Duncan (Shailene Woodley), she wants to know exactly what crimes Slahi is accused of. Their investigation intersects with that of Stuart Couch (Benedict Cumberbatch), a military lawyer who should bring Slahi to justice.
The names above make it clear: Kevin Macdonald could count on a top notch cast and they all do their jobs well. But it’s Tahar Rahim we know from the Netflix series The snake at the whirlwind and who made an impression in the distant past in A prophet which makes the biggest impression in this leading cast, both in scenes set in the present and the past.
The long streak in which Slahi is tortured stays with us the longest after watching. And that is, of course, what Macdonald means. Not that Slahi is such an innocent blank slate – he trained for al Qaeda in 1991 and knew people who were involved in unsavory affairs – but that people deserve a second chance in life and can change their minds. convictions. After two months, Slahi returned from Al Qaeda, went to school, and got a scholarship to study in Germany. An opportunity that he seized with both hands.
Mauritanian So it’s certainly a decent movie, but it’s not unforgettable either. Macdonald’s direction could have been tighter, the first half of the movie is nothing we’ve never seen before and is even somewhat predictable, but it’s the second half of the movie that impresses. Although we were already shocked there, it is advisable to sit until the end.
We learn that the Obama administration has appealed for Slahi’s release, that Slahi must remain in prison for several more years (nearly 15 years in total), and that of the 779 detainees never detained at Guantanamo, only eight were condemned. Three of them had their convictions overturned by the Supreme Court. These are the numbers we want to build on.
Fall: fairly repetitive, but with the heart in the right place
The only time we were jealous of Danira was when Viggo Mortensen was the guest on her talk show. Today on one to talk about his directorial debut Fall. Mortensen – who is now 62 – is not only an actor, painter and poet, but now also an official director.
Fall is what they call a passion project. Mortensen directed, wrote the screenplay, was also a producer and collaborated on music. He also stars in the film itself, although this was not originally planned, but it turned out to be an effective way to fund the film. After all, Mortensen never paid himself for all of his work. The money that was supposed to be his salary went straight to the film.
In Fall we see the story of Willis Peterson, a farmer who has very conservative ideas but can no longer be alone due to advanced dementia. His son John comes to pick him up and takes him to Los Angeles to find a solution together. Until this solution is found, Willis stays with John and his partner Eric.
Fall is not an autobiographical film, although both of Mortensen’s parents, stepfather and grandparents also suffered from dementia. The seed of this film was his mother’s funeral. There my son heard all kinds of stories that he didn’t think happened that way. On the return plane, the idea matured to make a film about unreliable memory.
We only recently saw the best movie about unreliable memory and it’s still playing in theaters: The father. The image that in Fall dementia is pretty classic and sympathizing with Willis’ character as he screams and curses all the time and lets his worldview be determined by xenophobia and homophobia is difficult. Fall is therefore much more of a film about the family than about dementia. More than about the disease, it’s a film about a father and his son who got lost somewhere along the way because the son did not become the son his father had in mind.
Family stories can be painful, everyone knows it, and sometimes the damage is too great to repair. Willis put himself in this position. He is entrenched in resentment, he is angry with everything and everyone. In the cutest, most intense scene, John blames his father for never saying “I love you” or “Sorry”. The father, for his part, never had the feeling of receiving the love of his son and daughter. “I never got the benefit of the doubt,” he says. “You never looked at me like you looked at your mother.” Herein lies the unspoken pain of life and the heart of the film.
Fall is a bit too classic and too repetitive to really impress, but it’s a film with its heart in the right place. And Viggo, we wish him a salary for his next film.