smartalek | Chicago Reader

Recent Reviews

Re: “The Year of Living Dangerously

It's been too long since I've seen tYoLD to give a proper response to Mr Kehr's whole review, above, let alone a proper review of my own.
But that actually works for, not against, my refutation of Mr Kehr's claim that the film has "not a single vivid moment."
Here are just a few of the many that have stayed fixed in my mind from only two viewings, one when the film was first released (yes, I know I just dated myself -- well, nobody else will, so one does what one must), and the other from when I bought the DVD, which was well over 10 years ago.
The earliest was a sequence in which the camera follows Billy Kwan through the slums of Djakarta, to visit the woman and child he's taking care of.
Another was the scene in which Billy explains to protagonist Guy Hamilton the meanings -- and lack thereof -- in a Javanese shadow-puppet play.
The biggest one is the climactic outcome of the disillusioned Billy's act of defiant protest against the President, Sukarno, who Billy had thought could, and would, save his country and his people.
But the most haunting one -- not least because of the perfect backgrounding in the soundtrack, with Vangelis' "L'Enfant," -- is the scene in which the Mel Gibson and Sigourney Weaver characters must crash an army roadblock, in leaving an embassy party after curfew, to start their affair. One of the hottest and most enthralling scenes in any movie, ever -- and no clothes came off, and the only penetration was that of the car thru the roadblock barrier.

Posted by smartalek on 07/19/2013 at 3:11 PM

Recent Comments

Re: “Sue First, Ask Questions Later

This isn't one of those situations in which there are clearly discernible Good Guyz and Bad Guyz.
There are seriously complex issues here, in which the difference between an entirely valid, logically defensible viewpoint and an egregious exploitation of seemingly-minor semantic distinctions and sophistry is pretty porous.
It's hard enough to define "justice" in a complex world; discerning what's truly "right" (let alone what's legally permissible and what isn't) might well turn out to be impossible in certain situations. It's very easy to envision conflicts between incompatible absolutes -- and in far too many such cases, it's likely to wind up that the so-called "Golden Rule" rules: ie, "Thems that gots the gold makes the rules."
Kudos to the author for demonstrating respect for that reality in this article.

Posted by smartalek on 10/07/2010 at 9:19 PM

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