Thursday, 9 September 2010

matthew vaughn

after a run of frankly dire films which has seen t reluctant to even watch a dvd, as she was felting the other night i idled in with kick ass. i was hoping it might be okay but expecting less than that so i figured she could watch it in between the wool action.

how wrong. we were glued to it. i've always been a fan of layer cake and vaughn returns to the same colour palette that he used in that. if there's a director who loves yellow more than he does then i don't know who it is. plus he seems to have a fascination for industrial settings that i've yet to see equalled. and aside from all that, even if you're not up for the violence, explosions, script etc you get to play spot the art. any scene that sets up the baddie with marc quinn's blood head is alright with me.

and it's this attention to detail i was loving from the start. the film is alive with references, not ladled on as some sort of homage but just there, letting you know the writers, the director etc are all really into it (check out the credits for the spice girl henchmen). this is reflected in the performances which are uniformly excellent. mark strong in particular is delightfully unhinged. exception must be made obviously for nicolas cage, for whom the words great performance should never be applied. here, he says, he's channelling his inner adam west. it's just wrong.

one of my other reasons for watching was the media controversy around chloe moretz's language. true if you're not a fan of the salty language then this isn't for you and, apparently, swathes of journalists were shocked out their seats by the sight of an eleven year old girl calling the bad guys 'cunts'. they seemed somewhat less appalled by the ensuing violence. and for me this is the issue around which the film revolved. true there are other moral questions raised but the sight of a wee lassie as the main protagonist in laying down gleeful savagery i found genuinely disquieting.

at the same time at no point did i have the slightest doubt that my own daughter at eleven would have loved it. as with his references vaughn makes it plain he's questioning this (a similar tack is taken to the issue of the aftermath of killing in layer cake) as the character of hit girl jokes with her dad she wants a puppy and a bratz makeover for her birthday when in fact she wants a set of knives. hit girl is doubled against the girlfriend of kick ass who occupies a much more conventional set of behaviours. she needs the hero's assistance, she wants him at home rather than endangering himself. hit girl has no such conscience but then again she is a child soldier and endowed with all the viciousness that such a state can bring.

of course there are bum notes. nicolas cage every time he's on screen for instance, even if you could argue that given the source material there's needs to be an element of cheese. and vaughn it appears, can't do fire.
but those are small complaints. if you're after a film that does characters, dialogue, action and still manages to ask questions without needing to beat you around the head with them, this is worth a watch.

so much so that t and i are reserving a rainy winter's day to watch all three vaughn movies, stardust, kick ass and layer cake, in that order. i look forward to it.


Niamh B said...

sounds interesting

(I like Nicolas though)

kate said...

not seen any of his films. will do now though....and i'll try not to judge you ;)

swiss said...

i've had time for cage in the past but in his national treasure/wicker man/pay the massive tax bill incarnation he's just woeful.

kate. i'll look forward to your feedback!

Titus said...

Saw the advert for it on tele last night, now I'm even more tempted.
As boys saw Hellboy at 5 I am not concerned. Still can't watch Coraline though - sometimes film ratings look for the obvious and not the subconcious.

I fell deeply in love with Mr Cage in Moonstruck, then Raising Arizona, thought he gave a truly great performance in Leaving Las Vegas (there, I said it) and then things went bad, though I do love Con Air lots.
Thought Bad Lieutenant is meant to be a return to form, but I haven't seen it yet.

sarah said...

um, interesting is the word I would use. My 11 yo girl would not be impressed! She doesn't even like it when I say shit after dropping something heavy on my foot!

By the way, I've been meaning for ages now to pop in here and say hi, I'm still reading, just being really slack about commenting these days.

swiss said...

con air. good call, but really only because it's funny. and bad lieutenant - i can't really see what they can possibly add to the original that doesn't have poor old nicolas doing his bug eyed one note crazy, man impression. it's a shame, i liked him back in the days of raising arizona and wild at heart, even up to raising the dead and adaptation but beyond that i think he's patchy at best.

would it be okay for the boys. who knows? at a surface level the vioence is cartoon-y but at the same time people get obviously hurt. and that's before the torture. vaughn had to self finance because of the violence in it and even he's cool with a 15 as a fair rating.

my daughter's a funny one. when she was wee she appreciated the fact i didn't smoke, tried not to swear and didn't drink in front of her (only once did i drink and that was after she made me watch big momma's house and the nutty professor as a double bill, a coupling i assured her was above and beyond my ability not to need strong alcohol). these days of course the shoe is firmly on the other foot! ah yes, the irony of children!

Titus said...

I remember the glory day of seeing one of the bigger ones smoking on bebo.