Brave has its problems, not least of which are an overreliance on the sort of yes-dear sitcom stereotyping that characterizes many of the interactions between the stern Elinor and boisterous Fergus. That said, I think it’s worth considering Brave’s particular concerns and cinematic predilections on their own terms
The film has all the trappings of an archetypal Spielberg classic: fast-paced action spectacle; literal and figurative flights of fancy; the yearning for familial wholeness and the unearthing of youthful energy. That’s the problem. It’s a simulacrum of Spielberg wonder.
Dunst has some of the most dreamily sad eyes in movies today, effervescent when alight with joy and cutting when dulled by despondency; and she is matched in expressivity by Gosling, whose slightly weary baby blues offer flashes of the closely-guarded private worlds alive in his characters’ heads.
Resist the urge to check out of Tiny Furniture after the first twenty minutes. The winner of Best Narrative Feature at this year’s SXSW Film Festival (natch), writer/director Lena Dunham’s second film begins with enough self-satisfied tics to make even the hardiest filmgoer break out in indie-smirk hives.
Who is José Padilha: clear-eyed chronicler of society’s forgotten souls, or misanthropic peddler of pummeling law-and-order fantasies? It’s a question implicit in the critical reactions to Elite Squad (2007), the Brazilian director’s fictional follow-up to his 2002 documentary debut, Bus 174.
There’s an unexpectedly graceful scene midway through when Brady discusses his concept of God: akin to flawlessly parallel lines, a concept of perfection that human beings can conceive of while simultaneously knowing they will never experience it within the corporeal world.