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 The Last Face 

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 The Last Face 
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Pure Phase
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Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 7:33 am
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Post The Last Face
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The Last Face is a 2016 American drama film directed by Sean Penn and written by Erin Dignam.

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1. The Lost City of Z - 2. A Cure for Wellness - 3. Phantom Thread - 4. T2 Trainspotting - 5. Detroit - 6. Good Time - 7. The Beguiled - 8. The Florida Project - 9. Logan and 10. Molly's Game


Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:54 am
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Post Re: The Last Face
Within the space of a single showing on the French Riviera, an ambitiously mounted action-drama-romance film with an A-list cast and an Oscar-winning crew became a pariah, not shown again for several months and unseen in the United States until an unheralded on-demand release over a year later. Unfortunately, The Last Face is deserving of its fate. I am an admirer of Sean Penn the director; with The Indian Runner, The Crossing Guard, The Pledge, and Into the Wild, he proved himself a distinctive and engaging cinematic storyteller and transcended any actor-turned-director vanity-project stigma. But, wow, his first directorial failure is a momentous and peculiar one. There are a thousand and one ways to criticize The Last Face. I am not, as a hard-and-fast rule, opposed to the idea of a film focused on a Doctors Without Borders-type organization, but it is hard not to notice the conspicuous absence of a single interesting or multi-dimensional black character in a film almost entirely set in Africa. They are simply extras, present to smile or dance or, most frequently, violently die, while a banal Western love story is foregrounded. A love story in name only which drains Javier Bardem of his usual charisma and vigor and forces poor Charlize Theron to deliver nearly constant, wince-inducing voice-over. Sample: "The resilience and beauty offered by the refugees of war inspired an intoxication of intimacy, and in this place of so much war, had I found peace?" Just as tone-deaf and uncomfortably navigated are the lapses into didacticism, when characters express hoary the-world-doesn't-care opinions or deliver entire sermons-speeches on humanitarianism. The film is overwrought in several ways—a busy structure (lots of "ten days earlier in such-and-such place"-type subtitles), a cacophonous score of World-music chants and laments by Hans Zimmer—yet also thinly imagined, easily distracted, and without a convincing emotional center. There are even moments approaching genuine-albeit-unintentional camp comedy; consider a scene in which the two leads flirt via aggressive, flamboyant brushing of their teeth. Dental hygiene as mating dance. It beggars description...and Sean Penn earnestly brought this to the most prestigious film festival in the world!

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1. The Lost City of Z - 2. A Cure for Wellness - 3. Phantom Thread - 4. T2 Trainspotting - 5. Detroit - 6. Good Time - 7. The Beguiled - 8. The Florida Project - 9. Logan and 10. Molly's Game


Sat Aug 19, 2017 1:55 am
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Post Re: The Last Face
Oh, oh, oh, I have to mention the very first minute of the movie. Text appears atop a map of Africa. "Oh, all right, this is going to be an explanation of a conflict's history or scale," one might say. But oh, no, lol. It says Africa is defined by "corrupted innocence" (uh, all right) and then, holy shit, compares civil wars and genocides to "the brutality of love between a man [fade to black] …and a woman."

There is also this terrible scene in which Adèle Exarchopoulos, so brilliant in Blue Is the Warmest Color, re-enters the plot after a brief appearance around an hour earlier...to say, "Javier Bardem's character used to sleep with me! Oh, and I have AIDS. Bye."

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1. The Lost City of Z - 2. A Cure for Wellness - 3. Phantom Thread - 4. T2 Trainspotting - 5. Detroit - 6. Good Time - 7. The Beguiled - 8. The Florida Project - 9. Logan and 10. Molly's Game


Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:01 am
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Post Re: The Last Face
David wrote:
"The resilience and beauty offered by the refugees of war inspired an intoxication of intimacy, and in this place of so much war, had I found peace?"


Awesome. :funny: :funny:


Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:50 am
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Post Re: The Last Face
There are other examples, too. The voice-over in general is just incredibly...wordy, in a very bad way. "There's something in propinquity perhaps not to be confused with fate" is another gem which lands with a thud.

This is a sad failure, though. As I said before, Penn has directed several very strong films. The Pledge, for example, is a tough, atmospheric murder mystery with one of Jack Nicholson's best late-career performances. And I do not doubt Penn's emotional investment in refugee crises. He may have directed this entire film believing it was a tribute to doctors and volunteers he has met in the Sudan, Haiti, etc. He may have thought a photogenic-movie-stars-falling-in-love focus was a spoonful of sugar to help the social-commentary medicine go down. But at every turn he steps wrong, often hilariously wrong.

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1. The Lost City of Z - 2. A Cure for Wellness - 3. Phantom Thread - 4. T2 Trainspotting - 5. Detroit - 6. Good Time - 7. The Beguiled - 8. The Florida Project - 9. Logan and 10. Molly's Game


Sat Aug 19, 2017 4:05 am
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Post Re: The Last Face
David wrote:
There is also this terrible scene in which Adèle Exarchopoulos, so brilliant in Blue Is the Warmest Color, re-enters the plot after a brief appearance around an hour earlier...to say, "Javier Bardem's character used to sleep with me! Oh, and I have AIDS. Bye."


:funny: :funny:

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Sat Aug 19, 2017 3:45 pm
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