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Review: The Old Man & the Gun and Opera

Two screenings today. Have to wake up early tomorrow, so I’ll keep my thoughts brief:

  • The Old Man & the Gun: The perfect movie for a lazy day off. It’s a crime drama that leaves out the drama, replacing it with that charming, laid back, effortless style of “cool” that seemingly died along with Butch and Sundance. It looks and feels exactly like the kind of film that Redford would have made back in his prime—though his playful, sensitive performance here makes a compelling argument that his prime never actually ended.

  • Opera: Another assault on the senses from Italian gore auteur Dario Argento. Whereas Suspiria emphasized impressionistic lighting and color, this high-octane neo-giallo is all about camera movement: at times, it is omniscient, soaring above the lavishly-detailed sets like a disembodied spirit; at others, it adopts a more limited point-of-view, from the killer’s (black-gloved, naturally) to the victim’s to… a bathroom sink’s? Come to think of it, there’s a lot of ocular imagery on display: an extreme closeup of a raven’s eyeball, the blood-splattered lens of a pair of binoculars, and a mask with only one eyehole, to name a mere handful of examples. And then, of course, there’s the heroine, who in several scenes has her eyelids painfully pried open, forced to watch as the murderer goes about his grisly work. A meta-commentary on the voyeuristic nature of the horror genre, perhaps? Or am I still thinking too much like a pretentious cinema studies major, and this is one of those instances where a cigar is just a cigar? Whatever the case may be, Opera was a fun way to kick off the Halloween season.

[Originally written October 8, 2018.]

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