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Solhanne's Reviews

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  • Written by Solhanne on 29.07.2013

    WARNING – Contains spoilers – Please see the movie first.

    The singer Sixto “Jesus” Rodriguez was discovered in back-alley restaurants in Detroit, by two record producers, Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore in 1970, and signed to the record label Sussex Records. He made two records, Cold Fact (1970) and Coming from Reality (1971). But the records didn’t sell at all, and he disappeared from public knowledge.

    Unknown for all the implicated Americans, his albums made it as bootlegs to South Africa, and was hugely popular during the apartheid days, but because of the closed society, nobody outside of South Africa knew of his success there.

    This movie is a documentary of two South Africans search for Rodriguez, to find out, what happened to him. The rumors in South Africa are that he committed suicide on stage. The stories vary as to how this happened. Either he shot himself or he poured gasoline over himself, and burned to death.

    Malik Bendjelloul has made an intriguing detective story garnered with fantastic music. When you hear the music Rodriguez made all those years ago, it’s hard to believe that he didn’t achieve a breakthrough. A buddy of mine has described it as Bob Dylan with a better voice, and I quite agree. The movie has some interesting twists and turns, and although it’s a lot of talking heads, you never lose interest in the story.

  • Written by Solhanne on 20.11.2013

    ...but it might be the best movie I’ve seen this year. Be aware, this review contains spoilers.

    Didier Bontinck (Johan Heldenbergh) is a bluegrass playing atheistic romantic and Elise Vandevelde (Veerle Baetens) is a tattooed religious realist. They meet, and instantly fall in love. They settle on Didiers little farm, and soon Elise is pregnant. Jump ahead 7 years, and their daughter is diagnosed with leukemia, and their relationship takes a turn for the worse.

    Belgium's entry for this years (2013) Oscar race, is a study in love and grief, carried through the film on a pillow of bluegrass music. The music almost acts as a third character in the movie, and is often used to help conveying the main characters emotional states. Not that they need it, because the acting is sublime.

    The editing is something else to pay attention to. The Story frequently jumps in time over the approximately 8 years it is told. We are not always told that a jump has been made. In the beginning of the movie, we are not always aware that a jump has been made, but it’s not confusing, and by the end, all the jumps are clear and nicely tied in the story.

    The film is an emotionally roller coaster with ups and downs. I challenge you to not at some point to get choked up. It certainly comes in the top three of films I’ve seen this year, the other two being Broken and What Maisie Knew.

  • Written by Solhanne on 01.02.2014

    Beware - this contains spoilers.

    A Tour de Force by Matthew McConaughey in the lead role as AIDS stricken Ron Woodroof carries this film. Not to mention a Oscar worthy performance by Jared Leto, as the cross-dressing Rayon.

    Ron Woodroof is a homophobic trailer living electrician, when he tests positive for HIV. This being 1985, when the general public considered this the curse of the gay, his trailer trash friends instantly turns their backs on him. He now has the task of expanding his 30 days left to live. This develops into a fight with the FDA, due to the FDAs reluctance to release experimental drugs

    Matthew McConaughey lost 47 pounds to play this role, so instead of his usually bulky frame, we get a man with hollow chins. This part is further confirmation of his newly established role, as one of the best actors in Hollywood today. His portrayal of Woodroof is full of charm, sorrow and intensity.

    Equally as impressive acting display comes from Jared Leto, in the role of business partner Rayon. It's by far the best supporting role I've seen in a film from 2013.

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