I differentiate between storyteller/filmmakers and the story itself. It isn’t such a clean break as this of course; the narrative contract inveigles. But the distinction is useful here. He has a scope that he is interested in which could be described as:
navigating the pull against a world that presents as capricious evil. In earlier films, he moves between giving us the world and giving us the struggler in a way that confuses and challenges earning the distinction as art.
This time he again shows his mastery over the ability to balance environment and character. Julio Medem can do this. Kar-Wai Wong. But he picks sides from the first moments and never deviates. The engineered ambiguity is lost. It becomes a master cinematic storyteller delivering a story with impact but no value. We are always on the side of the human, never of the world.
When filmmakers put us in the world instead of the character, he/she can exploit a rich vocabulary of narrative games derived from noir. We stand as collaborators in defining the world that produces the pains we observe. We become guilty. This can be the most powerful of encounters in art, so when I see someone capable of it who ignores the opportunity in the name or moral cleanliness, I get disappointed.
Even Tilda is uninteresting.
Posted in 2019
Ted’s Evaluation — 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.