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Monday, July 14, 2003  

After a second viewing of "Pirates of the Caribbean" on Satruday our appetite for more Johnny Depp had been whet something awful. So Sunday afternoon we popped in "Don Juan DeMarco." What a strange little film. (SPOILERS FOLLOW) It stars Depp as a 21 year old resident of Queens who believes he is directly descended from Don Juan, and is thus the greatest lover on the earth. After a failed suicide attempt "Don Juan" is held in a mental hospital for a 10-day observation where Marlon Brando plays the shrink that becomes fascinated by Don Juan's story. The film is really about the reality of the modern world , and the lengths people will go to escape it (adultery, a convent, even psychosis.) While the goal of the film was an uplifting love-story where the burnt-out retiree is given a new outlook on his life by the young, mental, scalawag I found the ending utterly depressing. In the final sequence the newly medicated Don Juan drops his elaborate story (and sexy-as-hell Castilian accent) in-order to tell the judge what he wants to hear. But Depp plays the scene as Don Juan's ultimate defeat, and he never again shows us the spark that the character exhibited during the film. Even in the saccharine-sweet and purposefully cliched ending there is a sadness to Depp's character that, for me at least, spoke louder than the Hollywood ending.

Later that evening we would watch "From Hell," another downer-ending, excellent accent, mustached Depp film. I enjoy From Hell for its formalist visuals and hip-hop beats. I know, it sounds weird to describe a turn-of-the-century period piece as hip-hop, but much like Aronofsky's Pi, From Hell (Directed by the Hughes Brothers of urban-drama fame) uses a pattern of repeated visual and audio elements to create a feeling of a downward spiral. In Pi it was the max taking more pills with each repetition of the shot, while in From Hell each of Jack the Rippers killings are shown in very repetitive sequences, with each new killing revealing more graphic details. Worth checking out, maybe after a viewing of the newest Allan Moore comic adaptation LXG.

posted by JMV | 7/14/2003 02:52:00 PM
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