Vera Fermiga

The Commuter (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2018)

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The Commuter

 

 

I like these relatively low-budget star vehicles featuring action. They’re often much better than they’e thought to be. Here we discuss how Collett-Serra frames a wonderful opening scene through innovative use of editing, the superb montage of dissolves that highlight the commuter’s lonelyness, the wonderful shot that tracks through all of the carriages of the train, the ingeniousness of the central promise. There’s more cinematic nous and contemporary relevance here than in all of Downsizing. Mike likes it less than I and we discuss these differences of opinion whilst highlighting the many pleasures this film offers. Neeson, who I think is terrific, is surrounded by a great cast: Elizabeth McGovern, Vera Fermiga, Patrick Wilson, Sam Neill. A good example of today’s Termite Art.

José Arroyo

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With José Arroyo of First Impressions and Michael Glass of Writing About Film.

Down to the Bone (Debra Granik, USA, 2004)

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down to the bone

A working class working mom with a drug habit struggles to keep her life afloat. One begins to see themes emerge in Granik’s work: a mourning for what America’s become: all those dollar stores, people in work but in dead-end jobs and living below the poverty line; drugs or alcohol as the only but dangerous release from a life of grind; female protagonists; female solidarity within a heterosexual, small-town or rural setting. Here a big deal is made of getting into the city, etc. Granik demonstrates tremendous empathy for the people she depicts and is wonderful with actors. She’s a poet too: what is the snake here? Is it a symbol for the need to get high like the smoke of a crack pipe, or something more akin Cocteau’s opium dreams? Vera Fermiga is a standout in the central role of Irene Morrison: I’ve never seen her better. Down to the Bone succeeds in invoking a feeling that you are seeing real places with real people, and that they somehow manage to plow on nobly in very ignoble circumstances.

 

José Arroyo