Sunday, September 30, 2007

Bug 'n' book

My relationship with William Friedkin is surprisingly complicated. I'm not exactly a fan, in fact, I find much of his most acclaimed material overrated, and yet this blog is named for an image in one of his movies, The Guardian, but don't take that as a recommendation.

Bug, however, is a masterpiece. It's a twisted and unpredictable study of two people and their descent into madness and their own hell. It's a movie that doesn't spoon feed anything at all to its audience. I'm still pondering what may or may not be real or delusion or what may simply be colored by delusion. And while that's often a symptom of sophomoric pretension, and the only reason the question exists is because it doesn't quite work as any of those things in itself, but in this case it's because each of the possibilities offer so much.

Check out The Super Mother Bug by Kim Morgan for more insight into this amazing little movie.

My relationship with Paul Verhoeven is decidedly less complicated. I'm just a big dumb fan. Even his bad movies, while genuinely bad, are more interesting than most good movies. And his great movies are simply amazing to me.

Black Book is his first Dutch movie since The Fourth Man, and it's almost amazing how quickly he returned to the cinematic texture and mood of European cinema after all these years.

Like most of Verhoeven's movies, it seems simple, almost too simple, at first glance, but it rewards continued consideration.

I'm unable to speak to the historical accuracy, but it certainly speaks to what I suspect is an emotional reality, in which every moment in which the characters begin to feel safe is interrupted by violence and in which not all Nazis are dishonest and not all resistance fighters are to be trusted.

This turned out to be a wonderful week for DVD releases.


Daniel Vella said...

While I wouldn't go as far as to call Bug a masterpiece (I feel it suffers from a number of slight flaws, which I outline in my review), it is definitely a very interesting and profoundly affecting film that deserves praise. It might even be Friedkin's best film (not a huge fan of his 70s "masterpieces" personally).

Neil Sarver said...

I'm torn on that. I'm also not a huge fan of much of his other work. I've still never been convinced by The Exorcist (see here, but admit to being a recent French Connection convert. He's certainly an interesting filmmaker and this is absolutely... interesting, beyond most others. Oddly, I'm surprised I used the word "masterpiece", more because of my relationship with the word, see here, than because of my feelings about the movie.

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