Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dialogue for unaccompanied voice

The purest moments in cinema are wordless:  Cary Grant alone at the crossroads, in the wheatfields, in North by Northwest;  Joseph Cotton, in The Third Man, walking back beneath the falling falling leaves.
(Or again, at the end of "The Godfather:  Part II":  blowing leaves, but now more fraught.)

~   ~   ~

Suzanne and I just saw “The Debt”, enjoying it more than the reviews said we ought to.   Well-crafted and well-plotted -- one reviewer had complained that the action was difficult to follow, what with the flashbacks and with two sets of actors physically unresemblant actors  playing the central characters:  but if you did follow the story, it repaid your attention  by making sense.

The most riveting character was that of the doctor, especially when he was (somehow alarmingly) expressing friendly concern.   This is what the loathsome character of Hannibal Lector should have been, had it been any good.  Anyhow, a critical point comes during a dialogue between the doctor and his Mossad captor David, during which David  speaks not a word.   The doctor cautions him to be careful with Rachel -- the first couple of months of pregnancy are so fragile.  Watching David’s face -- as we do not, the film does not stoop to a reaction-shot -- the doctor realizes:  “Oh -- you didn’t know.”  Again a silence in which much is said.  “Oh!  And you’re -- not the father.”

The moral balance in these early scenes   guides the further unfolding of the plot with the logic and pitilessness of an electromagnetic field.

No comments:

Post a Comment