Miami Vice

Somewhere between the speed boats, standard-issue supercars, and deep cover meet-ups, Miami Vice demands an increasing threshold of incredulity. By no means is this a flaw except while on the one hand you have to contest with suspension of disbelief to a point, you also end up struggling to keep up. Lost in the curt retorts and snappish dialog—mostly Sonny’s murmurs—is half the spoken lines in Mann’s script, notorious as ever for dropping pronouns and use of jargon-heavy dialog. Couple that with a possibly botched boom job and inaudible lines and it’s a jumble too difficult to follow without subtitles. And that’s the way most cinema was intended to be consumed. Vice fails there. And yet somewhere in the mess is film to be salvaged. So it either demanded boundless reserves of toleration or an outright reinterpretation of the shifting stakes throughout its duration. I prefer the latter, although the two are not mutually exclusive. Continue reading

Blue Ruin (2013)

Macon Blair Jeremy Saulnier

When it comes to revenge, no other topic inspires the level of hackneyed simplification as regards how two quintessential quotes get misused. “Revenge is a dish best served cold.” Or its preferred variation among the highbrow intelligentsia, “Revenge is a dish people of class eat cold.” Confucian’s more misunderstood quote is equally overused but holds within an overlooked meaning. “Before embarking on a journey of revenge, dig two graves.” No where else are the flag-bearing mantras as cringeworthy as with revenge but that goes without saying for a path less trod. In its defense, the latter example is not content with merely restricting the act to just its outcome. It stretches the scope to the series of events likely to cascade from a would be avenger’s choice. Basically, revenge is a Pandora’s box of counter-restitution. A portal to the endless questions to answer for at the end of the rabbit hole, if you will. For the previous quote, I’d always saw its author insinuating eating fancy delicacy, a luxury unaffordable to common folk, which where the people of class exclusiveness comes in. Or cold pizza the following morning, something common folk regularly indulge in. Which may explain the omission in the shorthand version. Either way, as vengeful fantasy is as universal an impulse as lust, the one glaring omission from Maslow’s hierarchy, I’ve come to understand the quote to mean that just like fine wine needs time to age, only a connoisseur would know when to uncork. And though hardly the perfect summation, it gets one thing right… revenge is not something haphazardly undertaken. Despite it being the soliloquy of the hand. This isn’t to say there is a certain level of craftsmanship to uphold, vis-a-vis winemaking, merely the due diligence to maintain your preservation in the end. The right vintage for the occasion? The right moment to strike. What murder kit to use. The cat and mouse aspect of the chase. These go into the process that by the time you’ve mapped it all out, you’ll probably have to reheat the oven, and rekindle the bloodlust. So there is some method to the madness. Personally, I subscribe to the Machiavellian school of thought which, considering its rogue leanings as a governing policy, has no practical relevance to vigilant justice and individual application. So make what you want of your payback, is my disclaimer. Now, Blue Ruin. Continue reading