Movie round-up: Lincoln Lawyer, etc
Inadequately and briefly, here’s a catch-up of recent movies…
Lincoln Lawyer is a proper legal procedural and courtroom drama. You may say its central character Mickey isn’t quite as beaten-up as we expected from the novel, nor his wife quite as hard-bitten. But those are small weaknesses in a movie which had to work like clockwork and did. This felt like a classic we’ll be curling up with on wet Saturdays for many years.
Essential Killing mostly carried me along. Who’s not going to like a rogue male figure on the run getting a drink of milk from the swollen breast of an alcohol-sodden Pole who’s fallen off her bike in the snow? I am becoming an easy mark for one-damned-thing-after-another enterprises which hover near magic realism. There’s certainly a fashion for this stuff: The Way Back had some of it and so did Defiance, the story of the Bielski partisans. Throw in Of Gods and Men and you have a strong set, though this last does not feature women heroes and is the odd man out in that respect.
No Greater Love ought to have rung all my bells. Of Gods and Men, Into Great Silence, In Memoria di Me had all done so. It is quite wrong to look at accounts of monastic life from the point of view of a spiritual tourist, but it’s also inevitable. I have hung around more monasteries than most people and I speak, if not with authority, at least as a connoisseur. I like a certain style to other people’s piety in general and to their monasticism in particular. I won’t say that I prefer it to be male, though there is something about the element of a platoon or a ship’s company about monasteries which is pleasing (at least to this outsider). Anyway, NGL didn’t quite do it for me. I’m going to split my complaint into two. The movie aimed (I guess) to give us the interiority of the nuns, but one had too little sense of them as persons. And then the nunnery itself didn’t put its best foot forward: or maybe it really is a bit like an over-polished girl’s public school in which people pray up and pray the game for no particular reason.