Two More Movies: Defiance and Gran Torino

My movie viewing has been pretty spotty in 2009 thus far. I’ve only seen five films. Here are the latest two to add to the list.

Defiance – 6.5/10 – One of Daniel Craig’s better performances–he’s at his seething, snarling best. This is the second film in which he plays a vengeful Jew (the other, Munich, is superior). Defiance offers everything you’d expect, and there are very few surprises. I was struck by how little of the Jewish religion the film depicted. I’d expected (and hoped, in truth) to see more.

Gran Torino – 6/10 – Clint Eastwood has become a great director in his later years, so this film is very watchable. Eastwood (also seething and snarling) is an effective actor in a familiar role–elder guide and guardian to wayward youths. The movie’s subject and themes–the dreadfulness of America’s race relations–feel pretty done to death as well. Without giving too much away, the actor/director indulges in some serious self-deification by the end of the movie. I was left wondering if he was actually having us on a bit. The other glaring issue is that most of the supporting cast has no acting experience, and it shows. They’re inexperience onscreen was, for me, a major distraction.

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