Ten Thousand Bytes of Cinematic Critique
Monster is a "based on a true story" story that is based on a true story. It details the killing spree of a female killer and the woman who loved her. Oh yes, it's a lesbian love story, brought to you by Patty Jenkins, who wrote and directed the film. Honestly, I didn't find it all that exciting. Jenkins said she was trying to paint a sympathetic portrait without leaving out that this woman was evil, and while I recognized her horrible life and the fact that it was not an excuse for killing so many innocent people, I just didn't really feel much one way or the other. Charlize Theron won an Oscar for her performance, but I question if she was all that great. I guess her mimicry of a real person was accurate, but like playing a mentally challenged person ("retard"), I don't think performing as white trash is especially difficult. I'm certainly not going to give her credit for gaining some weight and wearing false teeth. Women do that all the time, and they're called the elderly. I enjoyed Christina Ricci's performance much more, but that may be because she was slightly less repulsive than Theron's character. That just makes it more frustrating that all of the nudity was of Theron and not Ricci. Before you tell me that Theron is hot, which I understand, you must realize she was under heavy prosthetics throughout the film. Seeing a lesbian sex scene between Ricci and Theron should have been cause for celebration, not disgust. That kind of leads into the whole theory on how Theron's character was so successful. She was a prostitute that picked up customers on the side of the interstate. I know it's dark on the highway, but I would pay her to stay away from me. I don't disapprove of prostitution on moral grounds, but considering what prostitutes actually look like, I don't like them. The highway variety don't seem like they would be somehow better. The movie has interesting mise-en-scène (ho ho oui oui), and mostly the acting is competent, but I would not call Monster "one of the great movie-going experiences of my life," and that's not just because I only watched the film on DVD. That quote was by Roger Ebert, who absolutely splooged all over this movie, matching only director Jenkins love of the project. Jenkins raves about the score, and there's even a commercial for the soundtrack on the DVD, but it's far from being groundbreaking or even memorable. I doubt I could even hum any part of it, by which I mean I can't remember it. Even minimalist scores like Vangelis' Blade Runner music or Nitzsche's Starman music are atmospheric, moving and still simplistic. The score provided by "BT" (come on, use your real name) was sufficient, but not anywhere near amazing as Jenkins and, well, BT would lead you to believe. Monster is worth watching at least once, but you're not missing anything if you don't see it, and I couldn't imagine anyone except Jenkins and Ebert wanting to see this again.
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