Monday, July 25, 2011
The Iceman Slummeth
Great filmmakers have tried and failed. Now, the dude who made Cutthroat Island is tackling the photog psyche. Sigh. Now, don't get me wrong. I hope 5 Days of War will be a bold and brainy blockbuster, but something tells me it's gonna be more like that wretched Godzilla remake than the next Broadcast News. Then again, we TV stevedores have been taking it on the unshaven chin for as long as Hollywood has seen fit to feature us. Whether it's a romantic comedy or a political thriller, the guy (or gal) behind the glass usually comes off as some thwarted doofus more comfortable with cameras than conversation. Okay, so that's not so far from reality, but still, movie-makers seem to go out of their way to deride the role of the television news photographer. What with our odd job and sensible shoes, we're natural bit players, comedic foils, roaming props. I get that, but when the most textured interpretation of a TV News cameraman belongs to Chris Elliot in Groundhog Day, you know your profession has been cinematically shortchanged.
Now this... a glossy thriller about the Russian-Georgian War, as seen through the lens of an American news crew. I'd feel better if it were some animated schlub holding his camera the wrong way. Maybe then, we could chalk any and all discrepancies up to technical mistrust between the trades. Otherwise, we're going to be forced to defend the cross-cultural bumblings of a fictional camera crew - as envisioned by the genius who brought you The Adventures of Ford Fairlane. How could THAT go wrong? It's not like the Finnish wunderkind went out and bagged some has-been actor for a pivotal role... Wait a minute - is that Val Kilmer? Sure, he made for a mean Morrison and his Doc Holliday was tops, but a photog? Was Richard Dean Anderson unavailable? Don't answer that; just know that we here at The Lenslinger Institute don't hold out much hope for a slick flick about a messy war helmed by the guy who tried to wrap a pirate franchise around Geena Davis.
In fact, we're delegating this whole messy matter to broadcast archivist Amanda Emily, who after hanging out with these losers, knows a thing or three about cameraman semantics. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to gather some rotten fruit for the premiere.