Friday, July 12, 2013
If cinema today endlessly mines the past, it stands to reason that eventually all the nearly-were films, the almost great films, will start to be remade. I can see that happening in the future.
Bowie always said that he never really finished anything- he just stopped at a certain point in the process. He always wanted to go back and tinker with it some more.
I wish someone would have tinkered with this film some more.
Just an opinion.
It has stayed with me, despite having only watched it once. The Flyway Cafe especially has a kind of archetypal hold on me. Having a thing for planes, it seems to live in a familiar yet foreboding kind of place- like a place i had dreamt in my childhood. I remember going to a restaurant when i was very young, the Skyliner. i always loved that name. it rang a bell in me. it called to mind this sort of pure landscape. Many of my dreams over the years kind of happen in places like this- just glimpses. Like Brasilia, or empty freeways, or business districts at night.
I think "the machinist" would have done itself a classic turn by underlining that atmosphere. the MUSIC, for one thing, would be the first thing I would scrap.
Watching it tonight for the first time since i saw it years ago, i kept imagining Delia Derbyshire crawling behind everything. Spare, eerie electronic sounds would have made this film a million times more unsettling, and subtle, and surreal. i am not a fan in general of orchestral soundtracks, but sometimes they are appropriate. in this case, an eno-esque route would have been the edgier choice, while still maintaining some kind of mainstream appeal. personally tho, i would have gone with delia. but "music for airports" would have done nicely. as it is the swooping-then-stabbing violin action going on here is as ubiquitous as dirt, and adds no real tension, atmosphere or interest whatsoever. and its true alot of people wouldn't care about these things, but i do, and it makes the difference sometimes with me. imagine "2001" without the music. its TERRIBLY important.
i would have liked to see less hooker-with-a-heart and needless tit-flashing going on.
SUBTLETY. one of the things i love about "rosemary's baby" is the freaking subtlety. the creepy teensy little details. the way a doorbell ringing in distance can mean so many dark things. the way ordinary things suddenly get turned on their head.
there is some of that here, but amping that up would have amped up the WTF factor a millionfold. there is so much room there to do that. but you can tell that there is too much compromising going on, really. there is an attempt to reach the audience at times. TOO many times. it seems to pull back at the decisive moment.
the profession he works at, that sense of foreboding industry. the way everything seems to happen in a storm or at night.... the apartment building and cafe...... these things could have been drawn in even starker, Expressionist tones. a whole other world could have functioned as a character, even more than it already does.
It would be fantastic if say, someone recast this and filmed it in Norway, during endless night. THAT would live there quite elegantly. this story should have snow in it, perhaps. fjords that are only hinted at, lying just on the edge of everything.
In fact, yes, the Norwegians. get them on this. run it through that kind of sensibility, that kind of noir.
With Delia Derbyshire behind it you would really have a startling, spooky mother of a movie right there.
just an opinion.