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Manchester by the Sea Review (2016) | Immensely Mournful

Extremely sad and touching. Kenneth Lonnergan‘s masterpiece is a movie that can’t be forgotten. Manchester by the Sea is a soul-stirring drama that will make sure you end up in a pool of tears. It has profound grief written all over it as it moves forward showing frames of a gradual build up that ends up in colossal dolour.

Grief is havocking. So the Manchester by the Sea proves when it swings around a reason so blood curdling that it is hard not to cry. It is a blend of guilt with pang thereafter that doesn’t let you slow down a bit. And you cry, and cry for a loss so horrendous it compels your guts to sing icky songs.

Direction of Manchester by the Sea

One of the best things about the movie is Kenneth Lonnergan’s direction. It is as calm as a good drama flick demands. Poignant and very powerful. It hides its cardinal cause well under the wraps for a good amount of time, building up enough suspense around the mystery man, the protagonist of the tale.

He chooses to go back in time occasionally showing the good days to prepare us for the saddest news our brains could register. His frames run long even if they are memories to give us a proper look into what had once happened.

Amongst Lonnergan’s other works are Margaret and You Can Count on Me.

Casey Affleck’s Acting Prowess

Casey Affleck’s performance is Oscar worthy. He is a great actor who is often overlooked by the gavels. He plays a guy who has accidentally done something horrible and is constantly living with a sad reminder of the tragedy.

Playing Lee wasn’t an easy job. The fact that he is tied up by an incessant struggle where he behaves like a tough guy, silently wishing to wane away inflicting pain by putting himself in harm’s way will make you feel extremely sorry for him.

It was an accident. An accident. It is so hard to make someone understand, the mishap you have to live with is all your own doing. He is in an incredible amount of pain and forever girded by depression. He says no to life, and is just carrying on without a will to live.

I don’t know if anyone could have played Lee Chandler as convincingly as he did.

Plot of Manchester by the Sea (Spoilers)

Lee Chandler portrayed by Casey Affleck is a guy doing menial jobs, who says no to the world, and you are left to wonder why. That’s when you see the movie making time jumps occasionally. It travels back and forth in its timeline to show you a glimpse of the before and the after.

It is only when his brother Joe Chandler portrayed by Kyle Chandler (yes he’s the real Chandler) dies that he decides to pay him a visit. Even there we are forced to believe Lee is an emotionally absent guy, who doesn’t shed a tear for the loss of a loved one.

With Joe’s death, he is supposed to look after his son Patrick played by Lucas Hedges. The latter is a teen still trying to figure out life. He seems to take the death of his old man lightly because it didn’t seem to affect him either. Both Joe and Patrick appear to be somehow on the same pedestals of human emotions wherein distance seems to have created what looks like reckless indifference.

still of casey affleck and lucas hedges in manchester by the sea

We delve a little deeper as they carry on their regular chores, inadvertently circling his grave with what comes as an aftermath of someone’s death. It is the mundane part that deals with funerals, the will, the entire setup that juxtaposes his thoughts against his past.

The Tragic Accident

In a place that Lee had forever dreaded to go back to, we find him unknowingly winding up. We are introduced to his enormous pang, the reason for a screwed up life, and why he wishes to stay miles away from Manchester. He had accidentally set his house on fire killing his three young children. It is hard not to empathize with it. The accident so despicable that could leave anyone shuddering for years. So it happens with Lee. It sucks out the will to live out of him.

The part that follows him when all charges are dropped against him is one of the most havocking parts of the movie. You find him asking:

“That’s it?”

to the cops who write him off saying it was just an accident and that it was nothing but a misfortune. His first impulse is to shoot himself when the police vindicates him. But he wishes immense punitive measures to be taken against him. To live with that pain is to be completely dead inside. And given the angst surrounding his tragedy anyone would want a quick escape.

With a downward tumble into the world of depression after a failed attempt at suicide, he has moved out of the city, out of his marriage and everything that remotely connected him to any memory. He is in constant pain, and wishes others to inflict more on him. A state of mind you can relate so much too. Deliberately asking for bludgeons to death.

Towards the end we find Randi Chandler his ex-wife played by Michelle Williams trying her level best to talk to Lee. It is another one of those devastating moments in the movie that puts drama back in action. Watch out for that!

“There’s nothing left. There’s nothing there, you don’t understand.”

You can order Manchester by the Sea here:

Lucas Hedges as an actor

At the same time Lucas Hedges doesn’t make you overlook him either. He plays that quintessential teen who couldn’t care less about what goes on in the family. But then again, he never let things percolate into him, and once it does, he breaks too. He has his own way of remembering, and putting sense into the loss. Like keeping the cadaver into a freezer bothered him the most. He is naive apparently yet brimming with emotions when he actually stops to think about it.

“Something’s wrong with me. I don’t know! I feel really weird! I am having like a panic attack or something.”

The Final Verdict

The aptly named Manchester by the Sea is a movie that should not be missed for the world. If you are not a fan of drama, then there’s a chance that you might not like it owing to its slow pace. Au contraire, if you are, you are going to absolutely love it. Do we hear Oscar bells for Casey and the movie?

You can check out the trailer of Manchester by the Sea here:

 

 

Triple 9 Review (2016) | Dirty Cop Fast Paced Thriller| Mediocre Theme Build Up

Triple 9 is corruption intermingled with a heist story. The best thing about it is that it has actors who can really act, and a director who can really direct. Just look at the star cast; you will be blown away to pieces by the number of veterans it packs. But the big question is does John Hillcoat use them enough?

TRIPLE 9 THEME: GET YOUR SPOILER SEAT BELTS ON

The movie justifies its moniker as it capers around the theme number of times. Pulling a Triple 9 as a diversion so that a robbery could progress unimpeded is what the movie endeavours to run its plot on. However, it focuses on everything else leaving out that perfect crime that it should have aced.

Triple Nine movie also tries to weave a complex story that entails dirty cops getting greedy for moolah, Russian clients withholding money to get more jobs done, threatening the team and familia to see the latter through, and betwixt all the commotion pulverizing a clueless good cop.

TERRIFIC DIRECTION OF TRIPLE NINE MOVIE

The way Triple 9 has been helmed will leave you appreciating the knack Hillcoat retains for acing cop-robbery movies. His pace is stunning and will keep you interested. He does a good follow up of characters, ending his incessant runs at right moments. However, the weird thing about his direction is that he ends up focusing on triviality too much. Like that instant where he follows up what Gabe Welch was drinking (Jack Daniels) to make a point.

still of the gang from triple 9 movie

MEDIOCRE HEISTS IN TRIPLE NINE

Whilst you might have seen bank robberies a bazillion times in movies, you might wonder if Triple 9 heists have something to shake things up a little. Sadly it doesn’t have that thrill to tingle your bones. The big question from the first heist is if they were doing it all for the money primarily, why didn’t they go for the money from the banks in the first place?

Overlooking that, and focusing on the good stuff, you see Chiwetel Ejiofor as Michael Atwood bringing in a rare charm through his demenaour. He walks around confidently, composedly seeing everything through, that will make you remember him for his finesse.

The second heist is performed by just two men that makes it a downhill journey per se. But surprisingly things pan out for them. Watch out for that security guard leg though!

CHARACTERS OF TRIPLE 9

Woody Harrelson’s flair is as astounding as all of his roles that somehow put him in a cop story. Sadly the screenplay basket doesn’t hold aplenty to gnaw upon. His character Jeffrey Allen build-up is not exactly heroic, but he still manages to reach there.

Straight from a movie still of Casey Affleck and Woody Harrelson drinking beer together in triple 9 or triple nine

Casey Affleck creates a superb comportment for Chris Allen. He carries this rare cool mien throughout the movie with that everlasting chewing gum that you can feel that character come alive.

Anthony Mackie as Marcus Belmont is the next best thing to the tale. He is in a constant tussle with himself to pull a betrayal over Chris. Gabe Welch is the weakest link to the story as he tries to decimate the plans of the group suddenly with a change of heart. Even though Aaron Paul does fair justice to him, I wish the reason for him to turn should have been brought into the vanguard. Oooh Oooh Anthony Mackie calls him “Bitch!” one time. 😛

MICHAEL ATWOOD PLOT

Constant follow up to the Michael Atwood story will have you take him for a heroic figure, but Matt Cook, the writer of Triple 9 has other plans for him. Kate Winslet does a fairly good Irina Vlaslov but you can’t take her seriously for a mafia head. She doesn’t come too strong although her screenplay fits her character like a glove.

The most complex of all characters is that of Clifton Collins Jr. who plays Franco Rodriguez. You do not see him coming! The fact that everything sieves out on its own, might dilate your eyes though.

The best part of the Triple 9 movie which was superbly shot was that ‘breaking in the neighbourhood’ scene. The mission is a constant follow up as Chris heads his team with a tactical. The shootout is absolutely thrilling to watch.

OTHER PROBLEMS WITH TRIPLE 9

There are other downsides to triple nine apart from the aforementioned. For instance a lot of characters are simply there. I mean look at Gal Gadot who plays Elena Vlaslov. She becomes nothing but a sheer reference to her sister. There isn’t a proper character development there. Norman Reedus gets the faintest of screen time. I wish he had more. His talent ends up getting smothered, like literally, in the first few frames itself.

What constantly messes with the story is the fact that you are able to see everything through but unfortunately Chris isn’t. He is blind like a bat, and it becomes hopeless at times, if it weren’t for Jeffrey who constantly does the research and all the detective work. We could have done with a better climactic revelation kind of stuff in the end, which might have pulled the plot tauter. Also, the fact that Triple Nine goes a tad banal in the thrill department will have you miffed a little bit.

Even though there is subtlety to how the movie ends, threads still remain open. You are forced to wonder about so many things, and loose ends that don’t come to fruition. Every character is dispensable, so if you were saving your favourites, one recommendation: simply don’t!

THE FINAL CALL

At the end of it all Triple 9 still gets saved by powerpack performances by its stellar cast and brilliant direction.

Check out the trailer of Triple 9 movie here:

The Finest Hours Review (2016)

A survivor tale that goes dodgy mid-way, scrabbles towards the end with an insipid feel.

Unfortunately for this one, I can’t say my two hours were the finest hours of my life. The movie’s dramatic quotient is bland.

SPOILERS:

Chris Pine is an absent unimpressive Coast Guard hero who seemed oddly placed in the shoes of Bernie Webber. Ok, so he was trying to depict a sheepish introvert, yet Craig Gillespie just makes him disappear like an apparition. He does the opposite with Ray Sybert played brilliantly by Casey Affleck though, the guy who kept the Pendleton afloat for hours in a punishing storm. Casey looked engrossed in his job, very intelligent, and despite being scared was trying to save lives of the people around. Ray, au contraire, just wanted to get married to Miriam, and follow orders. It seemed in the beginning the way he slouched around with his team that he didn’t really care about people’s endangered lives.

Screenplay is very shoddy, doesn’t have anything interesting for word-freaks. The love story that Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias have endeavoured to weave makes you indifferent towards their romance. It starts out pretty good though but then is lanced by mediocre lines, and unfelt romance. Editing is below average and often makes you wonder out loud what should have been shown and what we could have lived without.

There is literally at one point a “What-the-hell” moment when Miriam Webber walks into the office of the Coast Guard, and refuses to leave, and “orders” the Coast Guard officer to bring the boys back. When Daniel Cluff (played by Eric Bana) retorts, she storms off in her car only too drive into a snow mound. I mean, that entire affair will make you go “Whaaaaaaaaat!” It was supposed to be subtly written and should have packed in the right amount of sentiment, which was clearly missing. But it all seemed so stupid with her weird acting that you can’t really shake it off.

The Finest Hours misses big time on its much needed emotional trauma. You don’t feel a thing for anybody. If it was helmed properly, you would. At the end of the movie, Bernie doesn’t get a hero’s welcome as he disembarks the CG-36500, but rather his lover’s warmth, which leaves you actually vexed. You wish it was milked more or maybe shown in subtlety.

The Finest Hours is good but it could have plunged in better waters to be honest. A one time watch if you want to know about the Coast Guard bravado, a rare feat that saved 32 lives on just a mere lifeboat.