Daily Film Thoughts.

So I’m going to start posting more frequently about other movies I’ve seen. Little blurbs about what I’ve seen every-so-often and all that. So, I watched The Day of the Jackal.

I recorded this on VHS about three years ago and was bored last night, so I picked the most appealing recent film I had on video. It was between The Day of the Jackal and The Collector… so I went with the political thriller. Had I know it was pushing two and a half hours, my “long running feature on a small TV” phobia would’ve prevented me from watching it.

Much to my delight the film only felt about 100 minutes long. So I must give a lot of credit to the team that garnered the film’s sole Academy Award nomination; the film editing crew. A suspenseful film that relies on your own assumptions to create that stomach churning freight that makes all thrillers memorable. Being hardly manipulative and mathematically calculated allowed for easement in my viewing; both are two aspects that are must for a thriller – well, at least in order for me to *love* it.

This is mainly to the direction of Mr. Zimmerman. On the topic of his vision for the film, I really admired the way he chose to shoot the film. He added an extra dose of freight where most directors would allow them to be made less intense through an exaggerated isolation of the (then more) palpable scenes. I just thought masquerading the tangible really worked in the film’s favor.

The film features a lot of parallels to I… As In Icarus (though because I As In Icarus is quite unseen around most parts, it would make more sense to relate to this film in a review for I… As In Icarus) in that it’s comprised almost solely on ambient noises – not relying on a skilled composer to add to tension; the lead character only speaks when necessary and is a very intelligent man; and that it’s about the assassination of a French president.

The the lead performance by Edward Fox reminds me a lot of any Jean Pierre Melville film. Primarily physical – adding depth to the character through body language rather than unnecessary monologues (inner and outer). Michael Lonsdale brings great support in his BAFTA nominated performance as the man trying to catch The Jackal before he takes out the President of France. They play similar men – blunt and efficient – so the psychological chase that ensues is very capitvating.

Well-rounded, not quite as insightful as I’d have liked (rushed the revelation at the end to an extreme of M. Night Shyamalan-ian proportions), but constantly fascinating and easily manageable; despite the running time. [9/10]

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