This is a powerful piece of filmmaking. It’s not perfect but the rough edges are what makes it shine. It’s strange how much it resonates with a poor white guy from up north. I recognise all the references, all the ideas of displacement, and self-loathing, the lack of identity, not knowing who you are. I don’t, didn’t, share the bleak consequences, but do share the taste of bile that coats the inside of your mouth, the anxiety about who you are, is as recognisable to me as a dog barking in the street. We all need someone to lift us from the mire and make us realise our potential. Some of us get it, some of us don’t. The world is not as binary as some would have us think.
This sits in a similar groove to Steven Soderbergh’s film from 2000 Erin Brockovich. In this case big business poisons the population and a stoic lawyer tries to hold them to account. Everything about it is well done, a worthy telling of the story that should be of interest to everyone. It lacks the vibrance of Julia Roberts portrayal of Brockovich. Mark Ruffalo is more reserved as Robert Bilott, the lawyer at the centre of the story. His grim determination shows in the tight shoulders, and fixed expectation. It ticks the boxes for awards season, true life story, David versus Goliath, but might be a little dower to make a dent. Still worth seeing though.
This plays like some psychological horror film. A game played against women to make them feel lesser. You want the men to be hoisted by their balls until they’re finished, but money and privilege stop the castration they deserve. It leaves you with sadness, the kind you feel when someone tells you, you have cancer.
This is all kinds of sleuth-full fun. As honest as it is complicated to unpick.
There’s a sadness to the satire in this film. I suppose it’s a sign of the times we’re surviving. Our reality is so absurd it’s hard to sink the boats of bureaucrats with ridicule alone. I suppose that’s what happens when reality becomes the parody of a satire. The ridiculous has become true. A few years ago the fulcrum would’ve been easier to find. Now it has to fight events and characters that weigh so heavily on the scale there’s no pivot, no reciprocal return. None of this is meant as a criticism of the film. Only an observation about how hard it is to make us laugh now. It’s funny is in the absurdness, and the absurdity is ultimately the creator of sadness. It taps into a kind of stoic rationalisation, one that says if you don’t laugh, you’ll cry.
I had great hopes for this. Unfortunately I was disappointed. It was technically competent, but the constant flashing back and forth slowed to a crawl what is, at its core, an adventure story.