Friday, December 7, 2007

La Vie en Rose, Waitress, Rescue Dawn

New on DVD, these three films deserve some commentary.

"La Vie en Rose" is probably one of the most moving biopics I have seen. Directed and co-written by Olivier Dahan, it is the "extraordinary life of Edith Piaf", the French singer whose voice is the aural tradmark of Paris. Not only is her life and talent extremely well portrayed by Marion Cotillard (Marion in Big Fish), but the direction and non-linear narrative keeps the viewer online for the almost 2 1/2 drama. The cinematography is shot through with deep red hues and creates an image of Piaf's times that make the surrender of the viewer's emotions complete. This is great filmmaking and is Oscar worthy.

"Waitress", starring Keri Russell (Felicity) as Jenna, was written and directed by Adrienne Shelly (who also has a role as a co-waitress). It tells the story of a young woman, married to a classic red neck named Earl (Jeremy Sisto), who discovers she is pregnant. She squirrels money away to make her escape but gets into an affair with her sympathetic OB/GYN Dr Pomatter (Nathan Fillion, now on Desperate Housewives) and her husband catches her when she does try to leave. Although she will have the baby, she doesn't have to like it. Her co-waitresses give her a diary and she starts to write to her baby. Meanwhile, a grumpy customer, who owns the pie roadside restaurant she works at, takes a liking to Jenna.

You can probably tell where this is going, but it goes in a very entertaining and brave way. I enjoyed the film very much. I liked the pie/life analogy ....

"Rescue Dawn" stars Christian Bale (Batman Begins) as a German-born member of the US Navy that gets shot down over Laos during his first assignment as part of black ops in the early years of the Vietnam war. The acting is strong but it is a very intense two hours and the ending just a little too-Hollywood. Directed and written by Werner Herzog; based on the life of Lt. Dieter Dengler.


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