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Murder by Numbers 映画評論

Murder by Numbers

starring Sandra Bullock, Ben Chaplin, Ryan Gosling, Michael Pit,Agnes Bruknmer and Chris Penn

written by Tony Gayton

directed by Barbet Schroeder

I often confuse Sandra Bullock with Julia Roberts.  I wonder why?  As a money-making machine Roberts is in a class of actress above Bullock.  Many might prefer Roberts’ taller, thinner, model appearance to Bullock’s tomboyish girl-next-door demeanor.  But not me.  I like Sandra Bullock.  When I knew that this video had arrived in my shop I had to force myself to remember that it was Sandra Bullock I was looking for when I went there, not Julie Roberts.

In addition, I almost confused Murder by Numbers with the Jennifer Lopez movie Angel Eyes when I went to my local video shop looking for some evening’s entertainment.  Something about the complexions of the two women, and about the appearance of the box that contains the video cassette itself looked similar.  (The visual appearance of the cassette box is important to me because since I do not read Japanese I depend upon the illustrated cover to persuade me to rent a movie.)  Both Angel Eyes and Murder by Numbers are female police officer stories  -  hence my confusion, I guess. Apart from that they have no relation whatsoever.

Two rich high school boys decide to kill someone just for the thrill of it, because they are bored  -  or, fashionably nihilistic.  Sadly, it has an common, plausible ring to it.  The boys are brilliant. They know full well what they are about and take measures to conceal themselves.  But the old adage is true, and the perfect crime is an impossibility.  There is always some fault, either a physical fault in the case of evidence overlooked and left behind, or else a psychological fault in the case of human hubris (and paranoia), leading perpetrators to talk or boast about their deeds.

In this film the female detective grows to suspect the two boys, but cannot prove her case  -  or even her suspicions.  So she has to resort to psyching them out by playing one partner against the other.  It is a brilliant strategy that plays out successfully, against all odds.  We are left with the fearsome reality of pathological monsters in juvenile disguise  -  demons disguised as lambs.  These days the news is filled with tales of heinous crimes committed by juveniles, so it is not at all an implausible proposition and it leads us to wonder about things:  good and bad, truth and fact, innocence and culpability even damnation and atonement.

It is not a cinematic masterpiece, but it is good for an evening’s relaxation on the couch in front of the television.


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"Alexandre Dumas’ the Count of Monte Cristo" 映画評論








"Alexandre Dumas’ the Count of Monte Cristo"

staring Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris and James Frain

written by Jayu Wolpert

directed by Kevin Reynolds

This is another in a series of classic literary works that has been made into a movie. I have written about this phenomenon before. Oh, sure, The Count of Monte Cristo has beenmade into a film more than a dozen times over the last one hundred years or so, based on the French novel published in the 1840s.  But with the computer technology that is available to film makers now it is possible to make films more visually fantastic and authentic than ever before leading, I think, to a deliberate program of re-making classics with the new technology.

So on my first viewing I greatly enjoyed this movie (an American project made in 2001), and the same week that I watched the video I went to the bookstore to buy the novel.  At more than 1,200-pages it is very intimidating, and longer than any of Dumas’ more famous Three Musketeers novels (three of them).  But it is relatively easy to read, dominated by page after page of dialogue as opposed to long, boring paragraphs of dry prose narrative.

Upon second and third viewing, however, I quickly grew less favorably inclined towards the script by Jay Wolpert.  What bothered me when I watched it again is not the many reductions and blatant inventions of the story  -  deviations from the book made to make it fit better with the time constraints of modern movies and audience expectations  -  but the figures of speech and the acting that sometimes made it seem like a made-for-TV movie.

Once you read the novel and then see the film you can better understand the Hollywood formula of adventure film-making.  The story was changed in many particulars, I thought, in order to fit an inappropriate American idea of hero and heroine, good and evil, etc.  Completely lost from the novel were the drug-induced hallucinations and the lesbianism of some of the main characters.  Sure, they might have been peripheral to the story, or perhaps not, depending on your point of view.  But the fact that certain things were changed or deleted entirely while others were not is very telling first from the feature length film point of view, and then from a broader cultural point of view.

I think that Alexandre Dumas, like Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens, Leo Tolstoy and Fyodor Dostoevsky and other 19th century writers of his time, was a notorious windbag. Their writing tended to be overly long because they were paid by the page, and their novels were published in serialized form in monthly magazines.The chapters were only collected and published together as single volumes after the fact after they were published in magazine form.

Anyway, the novel was better than the film if you care to read it.  The film is good, but do not think that having watched the film you know the story.  You don’t.

(グラント先生)from http://www.live-english.com/

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