8:00 PM, 22nd October, 2005
Samuel Bicke is a regular guy trying to achieve the American Dream. He's finding it tough, though - his wife has left him, taking their young children, and he's not particularly inspired by his new job selling office furniture.
The steps Sam takes to try to make his life more meaningful form the core of this film, and whilst some are comic (the Black Panthers scene is very funny), they are mostly tragic (maybe you picked this up from the film title!).
First-time writer-director Niels Muller has made a film that will become a cult classic, I'm sure. The obvious comparisons to both Death of a Salesman and Taxi Driver have been made in almost every review of this film, and The Assassination of Richard Nixon deserves to be in their company. Sean Penn in top form is always exciting to see, and the supporting players - Naomi Watts, Don Cheadle, Jack Thompson - all show why they are highly regarded in the acting world.
TAoRN blew me away! I was caught up in the magic of cinema from the opening credits and, if you're a fan of quality film-making, I'm guessing you will be too!
10:00 PM, 22nd October, 2005
In 1971, Hunter S. Thompson was asked to do a 250 word article for Sports Illustrated about a motorcycle race in Las Vegas. He arrived with his friend, the Chicano lawyer Oscar Acosta, with whom he'd been preparing an investigation into a police shooting, and rather more drugs than would be considered sensible. Out of their insane experiences, Thompson wrote the seminal book that turns them into a metaphor for Nixon -era America, as the 60's counterculture collapses into drug-fuelled lunacy. Turning himself into the paranoid loon Raoul Duke, and Acosta into the dangerous, all-engulfing Doctor Gonzo, he told the tale of how every one of those drugs was consumed, and the effects they had on himself and the people foolish enough to come near them.
Hilarious and savage, Terry Gilliam's adaptation of the work manages to film the essence of the cult book that most people considered utterly unfilmable. Yes, of course you'd expect the Monty Python animator to capture the bizarre hallucinations), but, more importantly, he's captured the lyrical moments -the occasional sense of something better that should have been achieved with all the rebellious energy from the 60's. To quote J. Hoberman from the Village Voice, this is ;A low-brow art film, an egghead monster movie, and perhaps the most widely released midnight movie ever made'.