Just dropping a note: The Conspirator

The Conspirator (2010) by Robert Redford

The Trailer:

It’s been a couple of weeks since I have seen this – busy weeks to be precise – but I still wanted to write something about it, ’cause it was actually really good.

It was a tough decision to go watch it. I had seen the trailor – as I have mentioned in my post about Robin Wright – and liked it. But when I sat at home that evening thinking about it again, I remembered it as belonging to a trope  in which a woman is judged by a room full of men – and I do so get tired of movies like that.

Going to the movies seems to involve a lot of convincing on my part lately. But I am glad, I convinced myself to watch The Conspirator. For once, it is an interesting piece of history. Everybody knows the name of Lincoln’s assassin but the story that followed is not so very well known and it is rather a sad testament of law taken into the hands of vengeful men.

The acting is brilliant. Robin Wright and Evan Rachel Wood showed great performances of Southern women who – possibly – didn’t do anything wrong but are still blamed for the wrongdoings of the the men in their lives. James McAvoy shows another strong performance, and Kevin Kline – who is and always will be one of my favorite actors – is so brilliant that I only recognized him halfway through the movie. And playing an arrogant tyrant becomes him quite well.

The weak point of the film is probably that it is a story about a woman told through the story of a man. McAvoy’s character, Frederick Aiken, is also the main character. His fight for justice in the face of a paralyzing crime takes center stage, while the struggle of the woman he is fighting for, Mary Surratt, is pushed to the sidelines. And we are talking about the first woman who had been lawfully executed in the United States (and it is just possible that she was “innocent”) while Aiken quit practicing law after her trial. One wonders who the more heroic figure of the two was… (in case you are still wondering: it was her!).

The supporting cast was another strong point of the film (you really cannot complain about the casting). Beside Alexis Bledel, Justin Long, and Tom Wilkinson, Trekkers will rejoice in seeing Colm Meaney, while Gleeks will cheer for Jonathan Groff (who I don’t like any better now than when he first appeared on Glee).

If you got the time, give this film some attention. It deserves it, and it is certainly not just for people who study the subject – as I do.

X-Men: First Class – a coming-out story

X-Men: First Class (2011) by Matthew Vaughn

It has probably the worst title addition ever (surprisingly enough the additional title of First Class and the German one, Erste Entscheidung, are equally silly, that is a first… usually the German title and addition are much worse than the English ones), but that is no reason not to watch it. I think in my life there is actually only one reason I would not watch a film for: if I don’t like any actor/acress in it. What can I say, I am a judgemental bitch (I actually would like to propose boycots on some actors but that would call for actual active and political engagement on my part and I am not that interested, really).

Luckily for me, you don’t need much background information. Since I had watched the first two movies and the Wolverine-movie, I had some of that which means, I remembered Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen’s characters and that was enough preparation (for those, who hope for an in-depth comparison of comic and film or anything like it: sorry, haven’t read the comics, never will).

Well, it is not a new story: there are mutants, they are different, they are hiding but then the world needs them to prevent a nuclear war (same old, same old). After they have done that the former allies turn on the mutants because they are different. They want to destroy them but that backfires, because… hello!.. THEY ARE MUTANTS! So much for the plot.

Yeah, okay, I oversimplified because there are actually bad mutants and good mutants and there’s also another fight going on between them but, hey, I am a simple kinda… person. So, what with all that hiding and being discriminated against-stuff that is going on, people have suggested that X-Men is really a coming-out story. And, yeah, I mean, great metaphor and all. Do I believe that the mutants are actually all gay? No, but wouldn’t it be fun if they were? Also, I do believe that homos are more evolved than heteros (you just have to look at hetero couples on the street to know that)… we are the next step, people, no wonder everybody is freaking out. So, this part of the story hit home.

Am I being a little sarcastic, here? Yes, so put the stakes away again. I don’t think that any human being is particularly evolved. We are all f**ked up. But I do think that we should all have the same opportunities and rights – but that is just not happening, so it is nice to IMAGINE that we could be better than y’all folks…

And I do think that Emma Frost would be a wonderful addition to our team… Kevin Bacon, well, I love his wife but that’s another story. In all, there is not much to talk about. It is not extraordinary movie-making we are meeting here. I enjoyed the movie, yes, but it falls in line with other forgettable movies. In fact, I have already moved on from watching it last week and can hardly remember anything now. What I remember, is this: it looked good! I love the 60s look of the whole thing and that we get to experience on different continents and to different nationalities. Very nice. Yet, with the 60s looks comes the 60s sexism and no matter how evolved even mutants indulge in that one. Ouch!

Then, I remember the silliest one gesture that a character has accomplished since Picard:

And… Rose Byrne. I don’t even remember where I know her from but has she ever been this hot before?

Also, the German that was being spoken was without grammatical errors which is a rare occasion but everybody supposedly German had a thick accent of some kind… in their German. Just cast German actors next time, maybe?