Two words: unremittingly grim. Wow. In hindsight, it probably wasn’t the greatest of ideas to go to see Ill Manors AND Red Tails on the same day. It was pretty heavy-going.
The music plays a huge part of many films, and I don’t think more so than in this film – the words of Plan B (and John Cooper Clarke, who was an unexpected bonus when he appeared) tell a lot of the story that isn’t necessarily laid out explicitly on-screen. Incredibly effectively too. The lyrics provided an extra narrative that wasn’t intrusive and fit well with the feel of the film.
Then there’s the use of mobile phone-style camera footage at times and old home video style footage at others. Both very of the time of the subject being filmed.
No one really comes out as completely flawed or completely flawless, but that’s how life is, isn’t it? Many will call this film “harrowing”, but some shade of it will probably exist in the streets near you.
I have so many feels, you guys. I can’t.
This may well top Avengers Assemble as my film of the year, and Avengers Assemble was incredible. And I saw that twice and would happily see it again.
The tension throughout was incredible – most notably during the aerial engagement scenes. I don’t think I’ve been more on edge during a film since I saw Jurassic Park for the first time and I was…what? 9 years old at the time? Admittedly a large part of the tension stems from the fact that at every moment I was expecting one of the main cast to die – it’s a war film, that happens.
I admit, yes, I do love watching war films – it’s something I grew up with, thanks to my Dad. A lot of the films we watched were about just this era – World War Two. More than that though, he used to read books written by ex-servicemen from that time and I suppose that’s where Red Tails really comes through. The books that my Dad and I read really brought through the experiences of the airmen (all the books tended towards the RAF rather than any other service, since my Dad had been in the RAF when he was younger) and not just of the time they spent fighting in the air, but the relationships on the ground.
Red Tails really captures the loss and heartbreak suffered by those at war – both in the armed forces and to an extend, for the civilians too. It’s easy to forget, often, that the men doing all these heroic deeds had families back home waiting for them and though the focus of this film is obviously on the pilots, you don’t forget that they all belong to someone – whether as a husband, father or son.
I only have a limited knowledge of the segregation and racism faced by black people at the time (and for that matter, now – I’m a mixed-ethnicity girl in the UK) but seeing this film has made me want to really find out more about the situation then. I think every single film or book that I’ve seen/read about the Second World War has been from an entirely white perspective. The only alternative view I really know well is that of my mum’s father’s experience in Malaysia at the hands of the Japanese and my lack of Hokkien and his lack of English, combined with the generation gap and that he didn’t like to talk about it…well, that doesn’t really give that full a picture (although there is still quite a story there about my Chinese grandparents).
This is a great film.
So. Someone I follow on twitter has been pimping this film like a mad thing and since I was already in London, I figured I might as well go and see it (it is only on at the Empire Leicester Square in the UK atm).
I don’t know whether I liked it or not. There were bits that got a bit slow, I didn’t really sympathise with any of the characters and many of the horrific actions of Charlie, the main character,…didn’t really horrify me at all. It probably says something about my expectations of a sociopathic character, the way my imagination works and the kind of media that I consume on a regular basis (and have done since I was very young). Admittedly, I used to hear about these kind of actions on a regular basis from my Dad, who was a psychiatric nurse on a locked ward for violent, mentally ill people – so as soon as I realised that Charlie was a serious nutjob (not a technical term), then none of his actions were that much of a surprise or a shock.
Charlie is both fascinating and hateful all at once – the kind of creature that’s interesting to watch like a science experiment, but someone you wouldn’t want to know in real life. I didn’t understand why his wife or friends stuck with him, from his normal dinner-table kind of behaviour or exactly how he came into their lives and remained there for so long ( I suppose, I only really get it in the case of his best friend from childhood). Is it a case of being too close to someone to see how awful they are or being able to excuse their behaviour because you’re already close and it reflects badly on your judgement if you admit it? More interesting than Charlie on his own, was the way he was able to egg on his seemingly regular, normal-ish friends to do things they would never do under “normal” circumstances. There’s something in there about abdication of responsibility and the sort of general trend there seems to be in stuff I read about in the news (banks, corporations, various people etc) of not being responsible for something that’s gone wrong.
However, I’m too fuzzy-brained to really talk about that now.
I’m not too fuzzy-brained, on the other hand, to boggle at the woman sitting to my right in the cinema that was BROWSING FACEBOOK ON HER PHONE during the film. Seriously. We’re in the smallest cinema screen ever – how is that not going to be noticeable?