While some of the re-creations of clandestine meetings and shots of faceless men transporting the painting can be a bit cloak-and-dagger cheesy, that’s the only stumble in a film that tells a strange tale populated by a cast of eccentric and dangerous characters.
As he did with his previous doc, 2018’s John McEnroe: In the Realm of Perfection, Faraut finds and obsesses over the rhythm of bodies in motion, using repetition and cross-cuts of the team’s training footage and gameplay with anime sequences and textile manufacturing. These collisions, set to music from Portishead and Grandaddy’s Jason Lytle, are the heart of Witches, hypnotic patterns of serene velocity.
Keeping the camera on Fournet and Garland may reduce the screentime of the actual humpbacks, but Xanthopoulos is more interested in the research process, the passion and devotion the two have for their work, and capturing not just the thrills and the agony, but also more contemplative moments of of reflection and motivation.
The film, anchored by interviews with Moreno and her co-stars and contemporaries, positions Moreno as a trailblazer, a barrier-breaker, and a role model, but more interestingly, it ultimately tracks a journey of self discovery.
Franco brooks no quarter in New Order, and the businesslike tone and lean economy of the film make for an incredibly unsettling experience. He also layers the film with an ambiguity that keeps the viewer off balance.
Focusing on a quartet of charming, venerable men and the dogs they love, the film offers an engaging portrait of life in the truffle hunting trade, a bucolic life spent roaming picturesque forests, maintaining the winter wood heaters, and drinking wine.
Watching Matt and Anna discover the parameters of their friendship, and the impact they have on each other’s lives, is quite rewarding. Both Helms and Harrison nail the fluid nature of the tonal shifts as their bond tightens, loosens, and tightens once more.
The natural world and the industrialized world are at odds once again. But it is to Da-Rin’s talent as a filmmaker that her political and ideological intent never overshadow this deceptively simple and astute tale of a sick man yearning for his home, and finally hearing the call of the wild.
More thought seems to have gone into the future foodstuff and eating utensil design than in the narrative. It’s a lazy film, one whose future will most likely live on in mediocre undergraduate term papers.
In the final moments of the film, when the last piece of this very lovely looking landscape puzzle is placed, I couldn’t help but feel that the film was a missed opportunity for something more intriguing, profound.
Some Kind of Heaven effortlessly blends humor and pathos into a memorable and at times unsettling study on where life’s trajectory might land us, and that is a concept that deserves more than mild contemplation.
It is an exhilarating feat of control, and a scathing deconstruction of the sacrifices made in the name of art. You have to confront those threatening corners of the psyche. You have to embrace the black bear.
Part of the brilliance of Cummings’ performance is how he can turn on a dime, baring his soul one second and throwing off a well-timed jab in the same breath. Thankfully, the actors around him are able to keep up with his pace.