Zero Dark Thirty (Bigelow, 2011) and Nest of Vipers (Petroni, 1969)

Two odd companion pieces here.  I loved Bigelow’s latest film, the war/manhunt procedural Zero Dark Thirty.  I’ve seen it taken some heat (including some unexplained “this film sucks” comments) online.  The link below will explain most of my feelings, but a few additional notes:

-The use of sound is really great.  For a particularly fascinating moment, see the unzipping of Osama Bin Laden’s bodybag at the end.  That zipper literally sucks the rest of the noise out of the room.

-The structure is pretty ballsy in how rapidly it moves through time.  Further, the short scenes, bookended at the front and back of the film by really long scenes are like quick bursts of machine gun fire.  See a sequence where a somewhat unknown suspect is apprehended by military dressed in burkas (a section included in the trailer).  The scene’s set-up and outro are so quick that information (who is this guy?) is easily missed.  That’s the point.  Follow a lead while it’s hot, move on it quickly, and then move on.  Anyone who complains about a lack of character development (I’ve really been on that tip lately, haven’t I?) didn’t watch the film.

-Strong performances and effective camera placement throughout.  The tension in the Camp Chapman bombing is palpable, due largely to a well structured series of shots.

Read my review HERE.

Nest of Vipers

I haven’t really watched many Spaghetti Westerns, but I, like many other cinema fans, am enamored with Sergio Leone and Sergio Corbucci.  Once Upon a Time in the West and The Great Silence both rank up there really high for me.

Nest of Vipers is a Petroni Western (I know him from Death Rides a Horse).  It’s solid, as you’ll see from my write-up, though it’s got its flaws.  Luke Askew isn’t the strongest leading male and an incestual subplot really goes nowhere.  The final stand-off is borrowed from For a Few Dollars More, but it still works.

Regardless, Petroni’s film is one of the better ones of the late 60s, and manages to ultimately be indebted to its predecessors rather than simply mimicking them.

Read my write-up HERE.

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About dcpfilm

Shooting, teaching, writing and watching the Phillies.
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