Monday, June 13, 2005

Irony Is Hard.

I'm trying to sort out my thoughts on The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou. Not that I'm trying to decide whether I liked it--I loved it, unquestionably. I guess I'm trying to get a handle on exactly how to take that whole "ironic detachment" thing. I am, of course, a part of the ironic detatchment generation, so it doesn't put me off in the way that it seems to do with others. Anderson is a filmmaker who swings more to the intellectual side of things than the emotional, and there seems to be a general consensus that that's a bad thing. I don't buy that. One could just as easily point to some of those classic movies of the '70s and fault them for swinging too far towards the gut. But there are times when I'm watching a movie like The Life Aquatic, and I'm laughing, but I'm not sure if I'm really supposed to be laughing. Or if I'm laughing for the right reasons. There's a scene cut to David Bowie's "Life on Mars?" that is just one of the most rapturously beautiful moments I've ever seen in a film. But it's also a scene that is intended to convey a moment of emotion, and I can't really say it succeeds. But then, how do you even quantify success or failure of such a thing? Another viewer may call it "one of the most emotionally pure moments in cinema," and they wouldn't be wrong. They would merely have a different perspective. More interesting is the question of whether that moment is even supposed to be emotionally resonant, or if it was intended to feel cold and phony.

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