Friday, July 25, 2008
Black + White Friday: The Others
Alejandro Amenábar's 2001 suspense tale The Others is already pretty monochromatic, so I thought for this week's edition for Black+White Friday I'd take it one step further and turn it into a two shade flick, the movie that I have a sneaking suspicion that Amenábar wanted to make, but didn't have the chance (thanks Harvey Weinstein!)
Already it has the authentic feel of a black and white film. A time when blacks weren't exactly always "BLACK", but a murky grey. Also, why does Kidman seem more convincing in this one screenshot as Samantha from Bewitched than she did in the entire film version of that series? Bizarre...
I love the look of these moors, clouded in mist. No matter what the film - think Hitchcock's The 39 Steps or Frankenstein - they always look superb on camera. Don't you agree?
I'm not sure how many times I paused my VLC player on moments like these of Nicole Kidman looking frightened, but I did it a lot because there are a lot of them and she always looks so good in them. I can't help but be transfixed.
I always found it slightly weird, but intriguing, that Alakina Mann who was cast as Kidman's daughter looks, at times, eerily similar to Linda Blair from The Exorcist. Seriously. Next time you watch The Others keep an eye out for it.
This was a stunning little scene wasn't it? From the music cues, to the red herrings, to the voice, to this moment where a previously closed door appears to be closing again by itself. I love this movie.
I feel traumatised Nicole - something she has gotten down to a fine art - is scarily fascinating to watch. No wonder Lars Von Trier wanted to torture her and make her suffer in Dogville, huh?
I think that Javier Aguirresarobe's photography is, perhaps, the best framing of Nicole Kidman... ever? Even moreso than Birth or Moulin Rouge!, there are moments in The Others - like this scene, which feels like a lost outtake from Jacques Tourneur's Cat People - that are so beautiful and you can't do anything but stare are Nicole. Gorgeous.
Sorry, but you can clearly tell that I got a bit obsessed while collating this entry. How could I not? I love that this screenshot feels like 'Merchant Ivory Does Hitchcock'!
Remember earlier up there I mentioned Frankenstein?
I chose to include this moment because it's probably the film's biggest jump moment. Even seeing it in pictures though you may not be able to fully remember how much your bones jumped out of their skin with this appeared as if from nowhere. Those eyeballs are creep no matter what colour scale they're in!
I think we can all agree that The Others looks sublime in black and white. It reminds me of a mix between Robert Wise's The Haunting, Bryan Forbes' Seance on a Wet Afternoon and the Val Lewton RKO horror films of the 1940s, which I think is a mighty fine combination. But, if nothing else, it's an absolutely gorgeous reminder of how amazing Nicole Kidman is. This film, and Kidman's performance, is actually far far better than I remember (and I liked it immensely before now), which is more than I can ask for, really.