March 22, 2009

On Watching Brideshead Revisted

I'm impressed by the tungsten-like tough skin of the USCCB website movie reviewer, for whom it seems no horrific portrayal of Catholicism cannot be tolerated. The analogy is flawed but it reminds me of how some Americans think we had 9/11 coming.

Even more surprising is how I could have the resources of the web world at my finger tips and yet waste two+ hours on a movie that had I simply surfed to Catholic Media Review I could've spared myself. Barbara Nicolosi warned us and though I usually find her unreliable in her movie picks/pans, in this case her very lively and persuasive review would've surely done the job.

Or perhaps I might have even read the full USCCB review a bit more carefully, which warned of a film "substantially re-imagined in its essentials". Now there's a red flag, if expressed with a marvelous understatedness, one which the reviewer continues to quietly wave with the reflection that "the faith's enduring fascination for the initially skeptical Charles was largely inexplicable," a truth akin to saying that the weather can be cool in Antarctica. Indeed there is more evidence that the faith is repulsive to Charles than fascinating, or perhaps is fascinating precisely for his repulsion. Upon reading the review, I assumed that I would supply the motive for Charles when really the whole movie was the problem. Still, it was beautifully photographed. Turn down the sound and you have the mother of all European vacation slide show experiences.

Finally, I'm impressed and even edified by the fact that the aforementioned movie reviewer could apparently find the characters sympathetic. If you can care about these characters, then you must really love your real, live, flesh and bone neighbors.


Fred said...

And the USCCB reviewer said Nacho Libre was morally offensive. My theory is that it was because the movie gently mocked A Nun's Story, which was well liked by the clerical set.

TS said...

Thanks Fred, now it's becoming clearer... :-)

Ellyn said...

I watched it (Brideshead, that is) hoping for, at least, a bit of eye candy. It didn't even satisfy in that regard. What a mindless work of twaddle.

And if I hadn't read the book several times - not to mention recently renting the BBC work on DVD - I wouldn't even have been able to perceive any kind of plot. A bunch of nicely costumed characters drifting pointlessly in and out of some pretty sets. And some nice shots of Venice as a consolation prize!

TS said...

"A mindless work of twaddle" sums it up nicely. Definitely a thin gruel.

mrsdarwin said...

Hie thee to Netflix and purge yourself by watching the 11 hour BBC miniseries. Now THAT'S acting.

TS said...

I've always wanted to watch the BBC mini-series but was daunted by the time commitment -- I actually rented it from the library but had only 4 days to watch it and didn't make it very far.