Posts Tagged ‘Christina Hendricks’

Born Radicals

Ginger and Rosa

ginger_and_rosa

Director: Sally Potter

Cast: Annette Bening, Elle Fanning, Alice Englert, Christina Hendricks, Alessandro Nivola, Jodhi May, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt

British director Sally Potter renown for such art house films as the brilliant Orlando starring Tilda Swinton and The Tango Lesson, comes up trumps with her latest film Ginger and Rosa, featuring the uber-cool cast of Elle Fanning as the vulnerable Ginger, Alice Englert as the seductive Rosa, along with a supporting cast of Christina Hendricks (Drive) Alessandro Nivola (Coco Avant Chanel) as Ginger’s father Roland along with Oliver Platt, Timothy Spall and the always brilliant Annette Bening (Being Julia, Bugsy, The Kids are Alright).

Ginger and Rosa follow the entwined story of two girls born in 1945 as Hiroshima was decimated by a Nuclear Bomb ending World War II and traces their radical progression into adulthood in London in 1962, characterized by a growing social disenchantment with the establishment. The fact that Ginger’s Mom Natalie an aspiring painter turned housewife played superbly by Hendricks and her pacifist and ultimately selfish father Roland played by Nivola are not exactly conventional, helps in Ginger realizing her taste for social activism drawing her to the CND. As both teenage girls experiment with sex, booze and drugs, Ginger turns more to the growing Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) which was fuelled by her awareness of the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962.

Ginger whilst reading T.S. Eliot’s poem The Wasteland, soon finds herself got in a private crisis as her promiscuous friend Rosa puts their relationship in a delicate and complex situation. Rosa’s absence of a father figure spurs an inner sexual rebellion as her seldom seen working class mom Anouska played by Jodhi May last seen in the World War II drama Defiance, leaves Rosa feeling neglected and continually searching for love.

Sally Potter is clearly enchanted with Elle Fanning the younger sister of Hollywood actress Dakota Fanning and her performance in Ginger and Rosa is flawless conveying a wondrous vulnerability about the challenges of youth. Elle Fanning has become the darling of Art House cinema being cast in Sofia Coppola’s tale of a father and daughter’s relationship in a celebrity obsessed world in Somewhere and now Ginger and Rosa. Elle Fanning first came to attention in J.J.Abrams brilliant homage to Sci-Fi in the film Super 8 and has since caught the attention of cinema’s more influential female directors like Coppola and Potter.

Whilst the supporting cast in Ginger and Rosa are superb, especially Hendricks and Nivola as Ginger’s Bohemian parents and the rare glimpses of Annette Bening as a hardened radical feminist Bella who eventually coaxes the truth out of Ginger’s psychological and social dilemma, the film remains Elle Fanning’s with the cinematography capturing the intensity of activism versus vulnerability on the young Ginger as she negotiates a more complex environment both domestically and socially.

Ginger and Rosa is an intelligent exploration of betrayal, activism and social comprehension in a world which has become increasingly turbulent especially in the face of growing distrust of established social conventions governing family, relationships and role models in the light of a broader context of a society which is turning to radical activism as the main form of protest against Western governments using its nuclear power to obliterate cities and the pure carnage of war as illustrated in the post-World War I T. S. Eliot poem The Wasteland published in 1922.

Scorpion and the Frog

Drive

 drive

Nicholas Winding Refn’s noir cinematic version of the James Sallis novel Drive is an intoxicatingly brutal thrill ride, with superb stunts, minimal dialogue and hectic violence. Machismo has always been linked with knifes, guns and naturally cars symbolizing the American culture of survival, greed and the right to bear arms.

Drive is set in urban Los Angeles and follows the bizarre story of Driver played with a cool lethal charm by Ryan Gosling (The Ides of March, Blue Valentine) who befriends a next door neighbour sultry diner waitress Irina played by Carey Mulligan (An Education). Driver becomes the protector of Irina and her young son Benicio while the father is away in prison. Upon the father’s return, Standard played by Oscar Isaac (W/E) persuades Driver to help him out with one last heist of a pawn shop in the San Fernando Valley in a bid to pay off some protection money. The heist goes horribly wrong and much blood is shed and in a series of horrifically violent scenes, Driver goes to any lengths to protect the girl from the vicious mob boss Mr Rose played with an elegant urbanity by Albert Brooks.

Nicholas Winding Refn scooped the Best Director prize at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival and upon a second viewing of Drive it is easy to see why. Each shot is gorgeously framed, from the car chases to the aerials shots of Los Angeles at night. As the first half of the film moves from a romance and some character building the second half of Drive is thrilling to watch with some unbelievable sequences especially the nefarious nightclub sequence whereby man’s capacity for violence is framed against beautiful shots of voluptuous strippers and Nino’s restaurant sequence whereby Driver donning the mask from his former stunt car driving days eerily takes a glimpse inside the pizzeria before preparing for the kill.

In the final sequence of the film, Driver in his blood spattered scorpion jacket, framed by a city skyline tells Mr Rose of the parable of the Scorpion and the Frog. Drive is pure 21st century film noir with just the skilful balance of violence, suspense and drama, making it one of the most engaging films about man’s obsession with cars and his primal need for violence and survival. Riveting and memorable, Drive also stars Ron Perlman, Christina Hendricks and Bryan Cranston as Driver’s boss Shannon.

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