8:00 PM, 24th March, 2001
Here are the basics of the plot: When a washout media magnate's son, Izzy Goldkiss (Roth), falls to his death in the Million Dollar Hotel, suspicion is raised as to the validity of the assumption that it was suicide. Police Detective Skinner (Gibson) is called into investigate the skid-row hotel, and an interesting array of suspects confronts him. Among the suspects are a burnt-out prostitute (Jovovich); Dixie, (Stormare) who claims to be the fifth Beatle; Geronimo (Smits), who is selling paintings he claims were made by Izzy before his death; Vivien (Plummer), Izzy's fiance; and Tom Tom (Davies), an unstable youth. The look of this film is outstanding, like many of Wim Wenders's other works. Even so, this isn't one of Wenders's best films. The film has so much potential that is not realised by the quality of actors, photography, or even the score. The central problem is that the story, written by Bono, does not really connect with the subject matter at hand in a satisfactory manner. That said, the film is visually stunning, and this alone makes it worth seeing on the big screen. An interesting performance by Mel Gibson also makes the film worth seeing, one of his more interesting parts he has played recently. Overall the film is worth watching so long as you are not in an annoyed mood!
10:10 PM, 24th March, 2001
It's a simple story really. Two idealistic young lads decide to leave the farm and join up. Serve their country, make men out of themselves. Along the way they'll have a few adventures and plenty of laughs. Unfortunately, the army they are joining is the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) and their destination is Gallipoli Cove. Chances of their coming home in one piece and the audience's getting a happy ending are looking pretty slim.
Very ably directed by Peter Weir (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Witness), Gallipoli is a classic 'anti-war' movie, very much in the tradition of All Quiet on the Western Front. The film encourages us to identify with the humanity of the young soldiers, and ultimately we are asked to ponder the usefulness of their 'supreme sacrifice'. One of a slew of big 'message movies' from the early eighties (Gandhi, Chariots of Fire), this one has to its credit an alarmingly young Mel Gibson and the evocative noises of Jean Michel Jarre on the soundtrack. The Gallipoli campaign is one of the Australian National Myths, and as such needs to be retold every now and again. I hope the next one is as honest and stylish.