Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Magnolia - DVD - 6/6/10

Don't panic.

It is 2010.

I'm well aware that I have taken eleven years to see this movie.

What can I tell you? There are a lot of movies and I only have so much time. I'm going to miss some. Including some of the good ones. I'm sorry.

While it may have taken eleven years I'm glad that I've finally found the time to sit down and watch "Magnolia".

It is fabulous.

A grand, mesmerising, twisted, dark, Altmanesque tale that tackles family, fidelity, morality, immorality, faith, fame, success, failure, happiness, life and death. At over three hours long it has the time to do so but it never drags or sags. It races along at a breakneck pace and yet manages to find enough time to draw characters that you feel for, believe in and understand.

It's an amazing feat.

P.T Anderson wrote and directed "Magnolia" two years after "Boogie Nights" and at only 29 years old.


Simply amazing.

The stories, and there are several, include...

The wife of a successful television producer, Linda (Julianne Moore), and her efforts to come to terms with the fact that her husband, Big Earl Partridge (Jason Robards) is dying. She is riddled with guilt over her infidelities and she falls apart in spectacular fashion as she entrusts her husbands nurse, Phil (Philp Seymour Hoffman), with the task of delivering an overdose of liquid morphine. She then makes an attempt to take her own life while sitting in her car.

At the same time on the set of Big Earls most successful show "What Do Kids Know?" (a quiz where three adults challenge three kids) the host Jimmy Gator (Philip Baker Hall) is also dying and has made an effort to reconnect with his daughter, Claudia (Melora Walters) prior to filming only to be turned away. On the set Jimmy collapses and one of the kids Stanley (Jeremy Blackman) is buckling under the pressure to succeed from his father and embarrasses himself by wetting his pants.

Jimmy Gators daughter, Claudia, is a coke addict and finds herself visited by kindly, geeky, Christian cop Officer Jim (John C. Reilly) who is following up on a complaint about the noise. He is immediately attracted to her and she sees in him a chance of redemption and so they agree to go out on a date.

A former contestant on the show, Quiz Kid Donnie Smith (William H. Macy) is fired from his job and makes a fool of himself by declaring his love for the barman in the gay bar he frequents. He is desperate to have corrective oral surgery (braces) and needs to find the money for it, as he is convinced that straight teeth will bring him luck in love.

Frank T.J Mackey (Tom Cruise) is a male sex guru who's "Seduce and Destroy" seminars make him wealthy and infamous. During an interview with a female journalist Frank is confronted with the fact that she has discovered that he has lied about his family life. His story of who his parents are is untrue...the journalist has learned that his father is Big Earl Partidge.

At the same time Big Earl asks Phil to find his son for him and bring him to him before he dies.

Are you following this?

I'm only scratching the surface.

A myriad of people, stories and events collide and interact here.

Every single person on screen delivers a performance that can rank among their best. Julianne Moore is incredible as the broken Linda. Tom Cruise is, frankly, astonishing as Frank. The fact that he didn't win the Oscar he was nominated for is shameful. P.T Anderson manages to draw out consistently wonderful performances from every one of his actors.

It isn't an exaggeration to say that "Magnolia" is a masterpiece.

It is a masterpiece.

The ending, as surreal and disturbing as any in cinema history, is worth the wait.

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