Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Citizen Ruth (1996, Alexander Payne)

I don't really know what to make of this one for now. It has the dark twisted humor that I love from Alexander Payne but I don't know why...but the film just didn't connect with me.

I felt that the film started off great with its satire aimed at aborition but somehwere during the 2nd half it just became too over the top to be a great satire for me. However, this is where the dilema sets in for me. I thought the film went over the top with its characters and I was a little bit shocked that Payne went so over the top with the material. However, I was even more shocked to find out through the special features on the DVD that the film is closely based on a true story. These characters and this whole over the top situation that happens with the pro life vs pro choice people over this alcoholic druggie mother and her unborn fetus actually happened in real life. What.

So, is a film still over the top satire when the actual event it is satirizing actually happened in real life? I don't know. I really don't.

What I did respect from the film and Paynes script is the way he balances all of his attacks against both sides. There is never a moment where you feel that the film has a political agenda behind it and I admire the film for achieving that due to the touchy subject that it is making fun of. I also greatly admire Payne for this film because this was his debut film. The guy had some guts to do this film and you have to respect that.

Another thing that was interesting to see was how the satire still feels fresh. It has been 11 years since this film came out and the war between the Pro Life people and the Pro Choice people is still as ridiculous as it was then. I found this to be a little bit sad, really.

Overall I liked the film. I didn't love it, but I liked it. It made me laugh a couple of times and Kurtwood Smith (Red from That 70's Show) was hilarious in every scene that he was in as a right wing christian who doesnt really know if he really is a right wing christian or not. His performance is reason alone to watch the film.

- B

It also hit me that I have now seen all of Alexander Payne's feature films. So, I might as well rank them for the hell of it.

1. About Schmidt
2. Election
3. Sideways
4. Citizen Ruth

I wonder how long it will take until his next one comes out since IMDB has nothing listed in the works for him.

1 comment:

Jason said...

This is the only Payne film I have left to see. Maybe I'll pick it up since it is always in the bargain dvd bins.