The Great Depression
Essay Preview: The Great Depression
Report this essay
Mixed reviews on the Internet, big cast, multi-angled story, to me it sounded like a few other movies that have treaded the same ground but still very interesting. The talents of Paul Haggis and the exciting casting of Don Cheadle, Sandra Bullock, Matt Dillon, et al, attracted me to this movie and I am thankful that I ignored what the critics have said.
The movie is a group of stories of different people that all connect through each other and all relate in some way. Its a strong story, and quite a controversial one. Large in both its concept and its cast. I can guess some of their negative reaction has been due to the uncomfortable feeling the movie has throughout and the very strong nature of its content. Its a difficult journey, but well worth going to see.
Straight up, many thanks again to Vue Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh for their help with this review, and congratulations to G on her promotion!
From the opening scene youre pretty much guaranteed to be shocked and uncomfortable, I know we were and we werent expecting the tirade of abuse, one of the more uncomfortable aspects of this scene is that its from a white man to a Persian, whom he thinks is actually an Iraqi. A very disturbing scene, and something that the movie is all about. The abuse doesnt just stop at the white American on Persian, it moves to Latino against Chinese, Chinese against black, black against black, black against white, white against Chinese, and so on.
One of the best moments of the movie is at the beginning as two black guys come out of an uptown restaurant in a very white neighbourhood and one begins to rant about how badly theyve been treated. “The waitress treated us like dirt, assuming that were black we wouldnt tip her.” he roughly said, and his friend turns to him, “well how much did you tip her?”, “Thats not the point”.
This conversation is so well written and helps to highlight the perpetuation of racism through over political correctness and over analysis. Its both funny and insightful and was one of my favourite scenes. The scene just works, watch it, understand it.
It covers how hard it is for people in L.A. (and indeed any city) to actually get close to someone else and understand them. It seems to be much easier to blame problems on others than to actually face up to them, and if this movie is anything to go by, racism is a very common aspect of this culture.
The movie is telling us that if we take some time to get to know the people around us, perhaps make conversation and dont stereotype them, we may just get along a little better. Lives might even be saved. Dont make the mistake that its all happy though, it isnt. Even those who think they have made the connections already, havent done so on anything more than a superficial level.
Couple these aspects together and you have one serious movie. Although it is hard to watch and it does make you feel very uncomfortable, it makes you feel something, and that is what cinema is about for me. I left in debate about the movie, both of us, and thats a great thing. On the lighter side, Jennifer Esposito is gorgeous!
Acting wise I was very surprised. Both Bullock and Brendan Fraser play characters well out of their normal sphere of acting, specifically Bullock and she absolutely excels as the D.A.s wife who is very much on her own. If you ever thought she was a light actress you should see her performance here, strong with a well written and performed fear and growing racist anger, I cant be vocal about her performance enough. The only sad thing is that it is all too short.
Fraser also acts out of normal character, he plays the D.A. and theres not a hint of comedy in the script, unfortunately there is in his face and actions to camera. For me he just doesnt quite pull this role off and maybe a great deal of this is down to all his previous roles, but the odd movement, face pull and off hand line dont always come through as fully serious.
Cheadle was a