Posts Tagged ‘Forest Whitaker’

ArrivalArrival is the finest first contact film since District 9 and takes its place alongside that work and Spielberg’s standard setter, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, as one of the best tales of the initial meeting between humans and extraterrestrials ever told on film. (Note: Comparisons to 2001: A Space Odyssey are unfair; Kubrick’s masterpiece occupies a unique and special place.) Arrival earns this distinction by way of its thoroughly original take on the alien life forms that come to Earth in 12 huge elliptical ships that hover off the ground in an inexplicable set of locations that include Russia, China, Australia, and Sudan. The aliens in Arrival not only sport an unexpected look, but their manner of communication is something we have not seen in a mainstream movie before.

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ImageThe two men in town are an ex-con and the sheriff. The two actors playing the two men are Forest Whitaker and Harvey Keitel. That alone is enough to pique interest in La voie de l’ennemi (Two Men in Town). Yet, director Rachid Bouchareb squanders the opportunity and good will that such a pairing and such a scenario engenders with an uninspired, meandering movie that drew scant attention at the 64th Berlinale Film Festival in February.

The problems begin with the screenplay, credited to Bouchareb and two others. What is needed is a narrative with taut, constant pressure reflecting the vise the ex-con finds himself in, with the screws being alternately turned by a vengeful sheriff and the local crime lord. Instead, the film is a tepid tale, a loose remake of the 1973 French film Deux hommes dans la ville, but without the outrage and passion that director and screenwriter José Giovanni, who was on death row in the French penal system at one time, brought to the previous version. (more…)