WATCHING JUDE LAW
SHOPPING Paul Anderson (director and writer) 1994
PREDICTIONS YOU WISH YOU HADN’T MADE: “Newcomer Law seems more like a candidate for a British technorock group than screen stardom.” So wrote a Variety critic who was dead wrong but dead accurate when he also wrote: “An all-style, no-content attitudinal actioner, Shopping is as blank-minded as its vapidly rebellious leading characters…” Variety is also correct in noting lack of conflict as a problem: “…there’s nothing colliding here except cars.”
While clearly wrong about Jude Law’s future, the critic is specifically wrong about this particular performance which is excellent. He is in shallow character every moment. His alive face consistently shows perpetual delight and wonder at the world about him and a kind of delight in himself as well; but the writing never lets us know why he wants to destroy that world — and himself.
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A GREAT SHAKESPEARE, A GREAT KUROSAWA, GREAT MIFUNE AND THE GREAT YAMADA
In a December Wall Street Journal David Mermelstein wrote vigorously and incisively of Akira Kurosawa’s Throne of Blood and of Toshiro Mifune (Washizu/Macbeth) and especially of Isuzu Yamada (Lady Asaji/Lady Macbeth).
Yamada: “…her minimally calibrated gestures and subtle inflections of language (apparent even to those who don’t speak Japanese) carry an insidious diabolical quality.”
And summing up: “Beyond these considerable merits, ‘Throne of Blood’ lays another claim to greatness. It demonstrates conclusively that Shakespeare’s concerns and moral lessons are not just timeless but universal. For how better to confirm the eternal verities contained within ‘Macbeth’ than to convey them through a different medium, grafted to a drama in another language whose action takes place a world away.” (WSJ, 12/26-27/15.)
NEXT FRIDAY POST February 26
See you at the movies,