8:00 PM, 27th May, 2005
Biopics are in this year. J.M. Barrie, Che Guevera, Ray Charles, Alexander the Great, Howard Hughes, Paul Rusesabagina, Elektra. And now there's Kinsey.
For those (like me before the film) who know next to nothing about Alfred Kinsey, he shocked the world in the late forties/early fifties just by talking about sex. Of course, in that time, not many people did that (most of the amusing parts of the film are derived from the lack of knowledge back then - "You mean there's more than one position?" and the like.) The machinations by which he goes about shaking the conservative tree are best left to unfold during the film.
At the time of writing this review, the Oscar nominations hadn't been released yet. However, I'm going to stick my neck out and suggest that Liam Neeson should win Best Actor this year for his performance here. It's a combination of dignity and eccentricity that is his best since Schindler's List. Laura Linney, as Kinsey's wife, should also find herself on the nominations list. Anyone with a keen interest in events that have shaped the way society operates today should come and see Kinsey.
10:00 PM, 27th May, 2005
Watch this to see why Fahrenheit 9/11 was such an inspired title (a pity no film could quite live up to it). It's set in a possible future in which firemen are employed not to put out fires but start them: houses are fireproof, but illegal relics of the past - like books - can still ignite. (Ray Bradbury begins the book on which the film is based by informing us that 451((deg)) Fahrenheit - 233((deg)) Celsius - is the temperature at which book paper catches fire and burns.) One of the firemen has doubts about his profession and starts to actually read the books he's charged with burning, to see why people are inspired to protect them... thereby becoming a criminal himself.
This vision of the future is nowhere near as plausible as the photo-realistic dystopia in Orwell's 1984, but it's well suited to Bradbury's feverish, not quite incoherent prose style. Likewise, Franois Truffaut's feverish, not quite incoherent cinema style captures the spirit and feel of the book nicely. Even Truffaut's unfamiliarity with English helps: the slightly stilted dialogue makes the clipped, artificial, ever-so-1960s style seem all the more stylish today.