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Old 06-26-2022, 11:20 AM
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TrueFaith77 TrueFaith77 is offline
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32.Firestarter (Keith Thomas); grade: C+
33.Memory (Martin Campbell); grade: C
34.Montana Story (Scott McGehee, David Siegel); grade: F

Two B-movies and an American Indie film deal in different ways with child abuse. None do so sufficiently, even as they tap into subterranean political fears. From best to worst (essentially in order of cinematically satisfying catharsis): 1) Firestarter streamlines typically overpacked Stephen King material. A secret government agency tortures two young adults in experiments that transform them into psychic human weapons. They parent a messianic child with nuclear-potential powers. Zac Efron’s perfect physique makes him an impressive Daddy and a Zaddy. When he unleashes his and his daughter’s rage—in refreshingly low-fi practical effects—it conveys something resonant about parental authority compared to all-too-believable government treachery (Gloria Reuben resonates as the villain). 2) Meanwhile, Campbell’s overlong Memory is the best directed of the 3. It emphasizes the determinism of trauma in Liam Neeson’s amorality as a hitman who finds his moral center: “I don’t hurt children.” His quest to destroy those that do takes him to the realm of the rich and powerful, those above the law and moral law. “My son was weak. You are not my son,” threatens Monica Bellucci. 3) Finally, McGehee-Siegel tie child abuse to abuse of the environment in an aesthetically constipated film. Haley Lu Richardson and Owen Teague play estranged activist sister and gay brother clenched expressions. They replace family obligation and forgiveness with murder, justified by their respective self-righteousness and guilt. The movie’s final shot could have given release after the dour resolution, but the directors euthanize the cinematic potential.
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