So I sort of (entirely) missed writing about my Blind Spots this year, BUT I have been watching them all! I’ll try and do better from now on. Here’s an update with my quick thoughts on the first four movies of the 2017 Blind Spot Challenge: The Lady From Shanghai, Hiroshima Mon Amour, To Kill a Mockingbird, and 12 Angry Men.
January | The Lady From Shanghai, 1947
This Orson Welles noir from the 40s was, for lack of an actual word, meh. And see, I didn’t expect that. Because I like film noir, I worship Rita Hayworth, and I certainly love me some Orson Welles (damn his magnetism). But The Lady From Shanghai? Not for me. It’s got some gorgeous shots and, as expected, fine performances, but the story itself didn’t pull me in at all. Also, I was expecting, you know, Shanghai. But don’t let this get you down…
February | Hiroshima, Mon Amour, 1959
…because I LOVED Hiroshima, Mon Amour. Is this really a surprise? An affair in a foreign country (hello, actual hiroshima) between two tortured souls with a very slim chance for a happy ending? Say no more. I’ll admit, nouvelle vague… you gotta be in the mood for it. But when you are, oh man, it’s like poetry on film. It carries so much feeling. In this case, loneliness and longing and every thing sad and beautiful about love. It fills up your heart so much, it breaks.
March | To Kill a Mockingbird, 1962
Let start by saying, I know this is a classic gem, a really good movie. From a purely objective point of view (if that even exists), I agree: To Kill a Mockingbird is one of the greats. But my personal enjoyment of it? I’m afraid it’s another meh. And a bit for the same reason as with The Lady From Shanghai: I simply wasn’t invested in the story and characters. Except for Gregory Peck’s, but honestly he could be a monkey and I’d still be very invested.
What can I say? The most exciting moment was when I finally figured out who Robert Duvall was playing.
April | 12 Angry Men, 1957
And finally, I watched 12 Angry Men, which interestingly felt like the other side of To Kill a Mockingbird. We never get the side of the one on trial, nor his defendants or prosecutors, but only of the jury trying to reach a verdict. The movie begins right when the jury is left to deliberate in private. We’re taken to a room with twelve men, and for an hour and a half, we don’t leave it.
I’m usually a fan of this kind of film – single location, simple premise, plenty of talking – when done right, and thankfully, this was done right. A spotless script and camera work kept up the rhythm as time flew by without one minute of boredom. Everyone of the twelve actors provided sound performances, though the spotlight falls upon Lee J. Cobb for a positively raging, emotional performance.