A PG-13 movie that I'd feel awkward taking my mom to see.
DIRECTOR: Morten Tyldum
SPOILERS BASED ON THE CONTROVERSY SURROUNDING IT: Okay, the Internet. I'm officially mad at you. About three weeks before this movie came out, someone on my Facebook posted about boycotting this movie. It was so controversial that no one should see it. I tried ignoring it. I really did. Sure, I probably would have read the article anyway, but I justified reading it under the guise that I might have to discuss such controversy in my film class. "It was my responsibility" and whatnot. So I spoiled the whole movie for myself and read along the the premise about how this was a movie about rape that never really addressed that it was rape and murder. Well, gosh darn it, something rubbed me the wrong way. This movie wasn't coming out for three weeks and the person who posted the review hadn't actually seen the movie. I wasn't itching to see it after that, but I also knew that I wasn't going to be boycotting the movie by any means either. When La La Land was sold out at the time we were going to see it and Messengers was playing instead, we knew what we had to do.
Let's put this out right now. Yes, the topic is very icky in the movie. It's wrong what he did...but that's the point of the movie. That's why the movie kind of exists. It is the central theme and it is morally complex and allowed an amazing dialogue to take place between my wife and me. We both found it uncomfortable, but also knew that's what the movie was about. Lauren didn't know much about the movie and was thrilled to see something so complex and thought provoking. I was responding to an article that kind of missed the boat. Let me say this. DO NOT BOYCOTT THIS MOVIE. Don't want to see it? Fine. If you think it is morally wrong to make movies like this, I weep for what art is about. I'm not saying Messengers is necessarily high art, but it is definitely challenging and isn't that the point anymore? They can't all be The Avengers. Science fiction is the genre that criticises the human condition because it can the easiest to allow for allegory. It is a reflection of where we are as a culture and is meant ot make a comment. It's why bad sci-fi doesn't really have a point. It's the good stuff that makes us look at where are culture is going to end up.
I was itching to review this. Can't you tell?
In terms of actual science fiction action, that's fairly forgettable. I mean, it's fun, but that's not what makes the movie riveting. If anything, it is just meant to appeal to a larger audience. Danny Boyle's Sunshine perhaps does the same concept a little bit better. Casting Chris Pratt and Jennifer Lawrence is always perfect. Their chemistry is awesome, especially when Lawrence hates Pratt. Her highs are very high. Her lows are very low. Both are relatable and both give a sense of grounding to a very high concept movie. I love when sci-fi is about real people in bizarre situations and Messengers really balances that well. Pratt has to be given a certain degree of respect. I know I'm the millionth person to comment that Andy from Parks and Recreation is actually a pretty talented actor, but the guy really hits you in the gut when it comes to a guy dealing with pretty overwhelming guilt. We aren't looking at a Daniel Day Lewis kind of thing, but he really gets the job done in spades. (Also, I just realized that this is a PG-13 movie with a lot of Pratt butt...)
If art is meant to be simultaneously fun and challenging, I like that Passengers delivers that. It isn't going to change the world, but I hate that people have rallied around this movie as a knee jerk reaction. If you watch the movie and hate it, then condemn it. But simply assuming a movie is terrible without a full understanding depresses me. The movie is great. There are fantastic moments in it while dealing with an extremely complex situation. I'd go as far as to say I'd watch it again. That's pretty solid.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.