From Who’s That Knocking at My Door to The King of Comedy, Scorsese’s is a cinema of losers—of stunted men whose sad fates, though they might elicit our sympathy, do not qualify as tragedy because they had nothing of greatness in them to begin with . . . The Color of Money, conversely, is about winners.
Too often, to these eyes at least, Petzold’s precision seems merely neat, his ambiguities calculated, his ironies pat, his cleanliness sterile. If not quite the reductio ad absurdum of the contemporary international minimalist style, Petzold is at least a good argument for its potential limitations.
Without the pop-existentialist gloss of Duel, Jaws pointed the way towards the “classic” Spielberg cinema of wordless sensation—located anywhere on the spectrum from terror to bliss—raised to the level of the absolute, sensation shorn of anything outside our own willingness to experience it.
Stripped of his powers and biding his time in a tiny New Mexico town that looks like it consists of one dusty block, Hemsworth turns out to be a real stand-up guy, charming as he smashes coffee mugs with pleasure and grunts to the waitress for more drink.
If The Son is the first among equals in the Dardennes’ remarkable body of work, it is because its dramatic crux most perfectly articulates the suggestively epic power ingrained in their determinedly and deceptively small-scale workings.
"A lot of who you are is going to find its way onto the screen regardless of your own efforts. Your work will always be marked by who you are and where you came from. Hell, even something as ridiculous as the weather can exert a huge influence over who you are as a person."