Wednesday, July 22, 2009

A Face in the Crowd

When watching a movie someone suggests to me, I try not to read the synopsis of the film. Partly because sometimes those give away key parts to the plot, but mainly because I know there is a reason that this person wants me to watch it, and reading the synopsis won't help in my movie viewing. In fact, I love going into a movie as blindly as possible.

With A Face in the Crowd, I did just that. I read the netflix sleeve to the point where it says "...proves that celebrity isn't all it's cracked up to be," and stopped. I wanted it to be a surprise. So in my head I imagined a film noir, gritty drama type movie, because that is what Pablo had been picking and that is what Kazan's last film I saw was like. Imagine my surprise when I saw that it seemed like a light-hearted romcom with Andy Griffith.

Only, it wasn't a romantic comedy, and it certainly wasn't light-hearted. The movie reminded me of Network, in the sense that it concerned power and greed in the television (and radio) life. Andy Griffith had a side to him I had never seen, and personally, didn't want to see. He was terrifying and awful, and yet you sympathized for him because he obviously had had a hard life. 

By the end of the movie, though, Walter Matthau had come out of nowhere and suddenly there he was, with the climatic monologue telling Lonesome Rhodes about his future, and that it probably wouldn't be good. Part of me thought it would end in LR's suicide, and yet it left us hanging, as great movies sometimes need to do. Because, after all, aren't movies supposed to be just snippets of life? And doesn't life go on, long after the movie ends? Sometimes, we don't need to know how everyone's lives turned out. We were able to just view a small portion, when all three of those lives collided, and we are satisfied with the fact that after the movie ended, all three of the lives continued to go on living.

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