William Friedkin’s films are obsessed with the ambiguity of villainy and the perishability of the human spirit.
As with any auteur (and I don’t hesitate to use that vaunted word here), it helps to recognize where the filmmaker is coming from and what he hopes to achieve.
It’d be easy to cynically dismiss Jolie’s on-cue reactions as mugging for the cameras, a routine perfected after more than 20 years in the business and roughly 10 years of being one of the most famous women on the planet.
Violence was always an integral part of Fritz Lang’s art, yet few other filmmakers were as scrupulous about what should be shown and what shouldn’t on the screen.
Conner was a “fuck this” artist, not just for savage cultural criticism lightly guised as celebration, but because of the myriad ways in which he offered it, shifting style as soon as it bored him.
The theme of male apprehension either transcended or succumbed to, but always deconstructed, is at the jazzily dendritic core of the “Moral Tales.”
The only period of his career when, film for film, Chaplin can’t in any way hold his own with Keaton is that of the short films he made before 1921.
Mann loved the west like he loved Greek tragedy or Shakespeare (Lears abound in his ranches), as an arena for moral and visceral conflict, so intense as to become mythical.