Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Built Ford Tough

What is it about Casey Affleck playing killers named Ford that just seems to work? That delicately high-pitched voice always on the verge of cracking? Or the foamy layer of vulnerability floating atop the sea of malicious capability beneath? In The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford he went from number one fan to idolicide in a two hour slide and in The Killer Inside Me his Lou Ford switches on and off his murder mode, the shift barely visible in his eyes. I've heard people say that the filmmakers didn't seem to realize that the book was funny, but I'm not in that camp. I think the humor lives in Affleck's performance, though when I saw it, Scott Phillips and I were the only ones laughing... So, maybe it's not apparent to everybody.

Over at Ransom Notes I'm talking about John Brandon's new one Citrus County and Toby, the main character who may be a budding monster, a theory he tests by kidnapping a young girl and keeping her chained up in the woods. The tone of the book is quirky and almost too cute, but the crime and its consequences are dealt with head on and that saves it from being... oh... a Wes Anderson kidnapping tale. Brandon's first novel Arkansas is definitely worth checking out too.

But something that did not work at all for me??? The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo movie. Never read Stieg Larsson's book. Can't comment on that, but what a pile of crap that movie was. Actually the film didn't completely fall apart till the last forty minutes or so, but it'd been going downhill for a while. Did not care about the "mystery" or the characters and the depravity that was supposed to make it gripping? Didn't go far enough to shock on the serial killer front and the abusive parole officer type relationship was more believably thus disturbingly dealt with in say Sherry Baby.

Save your time and money on that one. I can't imagine a Hollywood remake bringing any life to it either.


pattinase (abbott) said...

It was quite a bit better than THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE though.

jedidiah ayres said...

Really?!? I'll tell ya what got me... no... I won't... just fell apart near the end

Rod Norman said...

Sorry Jed, but we liked it alot & Patti, I enjoyed "With Fire" almost as much as Dragon Tattoo. I love the girl who is the main character.

Rod Norman said...

Hey by the way John Brandon lived in St. Louis for a couple years & agreed the Delmar Lounge was a perfect spot for Noir@Bar. You might see if he would come up and join us sometime. His new book "Citrus County" got a NY Times Book Review front page Sunday. John is a terrific guy as well.

jedidiah ayres said...

Rod - her character had promise, but once she was out from under her controller's thumb didn't do anything. And after the mystery's climax I just didn't care about her going to see her mom or learn anything about her back story. Didn't.

The film just kinda threw in lots of my least favorite things in movies - people sitting at computers, upper class serial killers with the boredom motive... and the utter failure to sell that blond lady's logic bugged the crap outta me. It became one of those "romantic comedy" - throw reason out the window and overreact type of premises.

Send John up this way if you see him.