Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Th......Ugh.... Th.....The...Aghhh.... Oh I'll Just Get On With It.

With the Oscars only a month away, I've taken it upon myself to see and review each of the nominations for best picture. We've managed to make it through three now: Black Swan, Inception and Toy Story 3. Only seven more to go.... Wait... Make that six. Here we go with best picture review number four.

T-t-t-the K-k-k-k-king's Sp-sp-spe-speech. With Twelve Oscar nominations, it looks like the one to watch. But why? It's just Colin Firth learning to speak properly, right? Well let's dive a little deeper. Albert Frederick Arthur George aka King George VI aka Bertie, (Colin Firth) starts the movie as the humble Duke Of York, stammering into a microphone in front of a crowd of hundreds. Doctors are called but nothing seems to be working to cure the Prince's stammer. But there is hope when Her Royal Highness The Duchess Of York, aka The Queen Mother to be, (Helena Bonham Carter) is recommend a speech therapist, Lionel Logue. (Geoffrey Rush) After persuasion and deal making, Albert begins to see Logue. Insisting that the 'King to be' calls him Lionel and not 'Doctor,' Logue begins to attempt his unusual techniques on Albert. Insisting that the Australian born therapist calls him Sir and not 'Bertie,' Albert seems to disagree with these methods. As well as trying to adjust his stammer, Albert's family seems to be crumbling around him. His father (Michael Gambon) is falling ill, his brother (Guy Pierce) is running amok with his mistress in America and Bertie just wishes that someone else will become heir to the throne after his brother, King Edward VII; he wasn't called the reluctant king for nothing.

The King was terrified when the steering wheel came off his car.

A wonderfully witty, funny and often emotional piece of cinema. What should be a horribly boring and tedious period drama is given new life through wonderful writing, acting and underlying plots. It should be made clear that the film is more of a story of what happened in King George VI's life during that period of time rather than just him fighting his stammer. Focusing now on three of it's Oscar nominations: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.

Firstly, our leading actor, Colin Firth. He gives one hell of a dedicated performance. He switches from clever and funny to full of rage so well and so effectively. He portrays King George's anger issues in a strong but yet sympathetic way. Every emotion is felt in the cinema seats and I doubt every eye stayed dry when he begins crying like a child. Of course, the real King George cried like a child; it said so in his diary. Oh, plus he does this thing called stammering like he actually does it in real life. I guess that's important in the movie. A performance that'll really tug your heartstrings. Do I think he's got the Oscar? Honestly, yes. Yes I do.
Next, our supporting actor, Geoffrey Rush. Lionel Logue, in the hands of rush, provides the majority of laughs. From plain funny jokes to visual humour and when paired with the two royalties, the three of them can be hilarious together. However, like the King, Logue has an emotional side. Unlike his short tempered counterpart, Logue is calm, soft and gentle but can clearly be moved by what the King says and does. In his achievements, his anger and also his failings or simply his story. Some really wonderful acting which creates some of the most uplifting moments in film this year. Do I think he's got the Oscar? Hard to say. It'll be a fight (no pun intended) between him and Christian Bale. I think he has a good chance, but if the Golden Globes are anything to go by, it'll be really close.
And finally, Helena Bonham Carter. One of my favourite actresses. As the reassuring wife of our protagonist, she is not only sensitive to him but also very quick and witty in conversations with doctors and Logue. Along with Rush, she provides a lot of laughs but, like the other two lead performers, she has an emotional side on her two. See the conversation with Albert when he finds out he'll be king. Do I think she's got the Oscar? As much as I wish that she would get it, I don't think she will. It's a very strong category with all four other nominees being great performers and Her Highness may have to cross her fingers and hope for a stroke of luck.

The latest rendition of The Sound Of Music was very low budget

The film oozes with brilliance; that's why it's been nominated for so many technical Oscars. The score represents the atmosphere perfectly. Will it get the Oscar? Ho hum. Score's are often overlooked by the normal viewer and I think this is the strongest nominee in the category. The camera work is stunning. Occasionally, a single camera shot said everything or the shot was just beautiful or even that panoramic lens showed you that little more and gave a bit of extra perspective. Oscar worthy? Certainly but I'm afraid I believe that Inceptions bagged this one... The spinning corridor, the wide shot of the falling van or even Cobb's view in the fortress when disaster strikes, brilliant. But in terms of editing, I think The Kings Speech has this one. Zooming into a wall and then retreating to reveal a different scenes in the same place is one example of the comedy and effect that the editing has on the movie.

Down to the last Oscar nominations that I'll discuss; directing and writing. A lot of the humour is down to a very well written script. A lot of the emotion is down to a very well written script. A lot of the catharsis is... Oh you get the point. The script is damn good. Will it get the Oscar? It's a tough category. It has a shot but it'll be close. And finally, the directing. Tom Hooper does a brilliant job. In case you haven't realised yet, the film is pretty awesome. And let's be honest, a best director award is almost a best picture award. (Okay not quite but you get me.) It means you can make movies the best essentially. Take all the aspects and put them together better than anyone else. Control them. Personally, I think Tom Hooper was fantastic and has a good shot for the Oscar. Bare in mind that I haven't seen True Grit yet, I bet that it'll be close between Hooper and Aronofsky.

Twelve Oscars and five star reviews all around, take my word, it's a good movie. Go see it if for some reason you haven't yet. You won't regret it. It's not the most exciting of films but it draws you in and is in no way boring. Unless you only watch films that have naked girls and explosions or scary movies, you should enjoy this one. Hell, even if those are the only movies you watch, there's a good chance you'll enjoy this movie. Very good.

Best bit? The uplifting climax? The coronation training? I'm going to go with the bit that stood out most for me: the vocal training montage. Funny, brilliantly shot and edited and also touching and uplifting.
P.S. Sorry for the really long review. Had a lot to write.

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