Friday, December 28, 2007

Two Films by Sidney Lumet

Recently watching two films by the American director, Sidney Lumet, has whet my appetite for more. He is not really an avant garde director, but he is certainly a master of his craft. As much as I enjoy visionary films, with something incisive to say about human nature, I do get entertained by an intelligent story and flawless execution.

His most recent film, Before the Devil knows You're Dead is a taut study of a heist gone wrong. Taut, edgy and technically flawless.

The other film that I saw yesterday, the courtroom drama Find Me Guilty, was thoroughly enjoyable, even though, like others, I don't think it is his best work. But it is based on true events, and I was genuinely surprised by the bittersweet ending.


Umang said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Umang said...

Thanks for all the film recommendations and reviews.
Here's an article you might enjoy:

Anonymous said...

dont tell me you havent seen 12 angry men???? without a doubt i can say - its my favorite movie ever. dont know about depth, but it abounds in "magical moments", the kinds which made "one flew over the cuckoos nest" so special

Harmanjit Singh said...

Yes Pankaj, I have seen "12 Angry Men" and its Indian remake "Ek Ruka Hua Faisla".

They are excellent films.

Anonymous said...

Best legal movies in descending, order:Judgement at Nuremberg,Inherit the Wind,Anatomy of a Murder,A Few Good Men,My Cousin Vinny

Anonymous said...

Not to mention Kramer vs Kramer and Philadelphia Story

Varun said...


I just finished watching 'Before the Devil..'. I was thoroughly entertained too. Thanks for the recommendations. Next on my list is Samsara.

Few observations and opinions:-
{containing SPOILERS}

The director builds up the story in a non-linear approach in the first one hour. This kept me attentive all through out, especially the overlap of sequences with the same scenes shot from different camera angles was particularly noteworthy.
But all the excitement that is built up, is kind of going waste in the last half hour where the movie is unexpectedly linear.
I agree that not every film can be a Memento but just that this attribute caught my attention.
Also, the predictable end is disappointing as the security policeman walking away leaving the room unguarded seems too contrived. Of course, willing suspension of disbelief can be employed here.
A few scenes where there is unnecessary shaky camera movement due to a forced handling (the scene where the father picks up the newspaper).

But there were certain subtleties that I liked, especially the heartbeat monitor's beeps becoming fast as the father does his job.
And when the big brother shoots the drug dealer's fat client is symbolic of him seeing his weak self in the fat guy and hence killing him.

All in all, good time spent! Thanks again.