Thursday, October 21, 2010

Monster's Ball (Marc Forster, 2001)

This is one of those films that I should have wanted to see, but never thought to. Luckily, the wife adds films to the Netflix queue to keep it from being all Jess Franco ;-)

The story involves two people who are surrounded by death, and are brought together under strange coincidences. Billy Bob Thornton plays Hank, a death row prison guard who comes from a line of corrections officers, including his father, Buck (Peter Boyle) and son, Sonny (Heath Ledger). Halle Berry plays Leticia, a down on her luck widow of a death row prisoner who has been executed, Lawrence (Sean "Puffy" Combs).

You know, with all of Berry's eye-candy roles, and Thornton's bizarre personae (and name), you forget how really talented the two are. Both play "natural" very well. Their characters both are going through harrowing changes in their lives, but they are not melodramatic or hammy. Both portrayals are incredibly believable.

I'll go ahead and give Marc Forster a lot of credit here. I enjoyed The Kite Runner, which he also directed, but I really think big props go to the screenwriting team of Milo Addica and Will Rokos. This was obviously written to be a film, not some novel turned into a film, and I believe it shows how powerful and artistic the medium can be without relying on other media types. I think it was a wonderful film and you owe it to yourself to watch it.


Lisa said...

This is one of the movies I watched and did not keep in mind ... Maybe should give it another try.

Darius Whiteplume said...

There was one bit of surreality that I did not ever get. The hand in the birdcage when Hank and Leticia first get together, in the biblical sense. If you figure it out, let me know :-D

MrJeffery said...

Really well-acted. Kind of melodramatic but I liked the two leads together.

Darius Whiteplume said...

It is heavy on the drama. I guess I meant the reactions were not stage-y and soap opera-y. I have seen people freak out like Berry did, and people shut down like Thornton (I have a mirror ;-)

Kal said...

I first saw this after Halle won her oscar and I thought there was no way she could act well enough to deserve that prize. How wrong I was. Magnetic performances are the key to any good movie and I really like this one. Peter Boyle was such a detestable character and a force of nature himself. And Billy Bob? When he is not being a drunk asshat he is enormously watchable when he has a good director and script to work with.

Darius Whiteplume said...

I am going to re-watch "The Man Who Wasn't There" with BBT. It is a pretty great film as well.

I still love him in "Tombstone." I can watch Kurt Russell slap him around for days :-D

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