Thursday, April 11, 2019
Thursday Movie Picks: Let's Start at the End
For the 15th week of 2019 as part of Wandering Through the Shelves' Thursday Movie Picks. We go to movies where they start at the end as it play into the idea of structure where a film has a beginning, a middle, and an end but in the words of Jean-Luc Godard, it doesn’t have to be in that order. That is true as the ending also lead to a beginning or to serve as a form of narrative that helps the story return to its end. Here are my three picks:
1. Citizen Kane
Orson Welles’ landmark debut film is a triumph in cinema as it opens with this sense of intrigue into what is this man saying towards the end of his life. Rosebud. What is Rosebud? That is the big question that looms over the film as it explores the life of a tycoon who would rise greatly and then fall as it is told in a reflective narrative. It is an exploration of a man wanting to be loved and be great as it add to the intrigue of the story as Rosebud is really more of the path that Charles Foster Kane took but what he lost on the way to this journey of greatness and failure.
2. Mildred Pierce
Michael Curtiz’s adaptation of James M. Cain’s novel opens with the titular character being questioned for the murder of a man as she would then tell her story. It’s a film that explores a woman trying to raise her family during the Great Depression and make something of herself only to endure tragedy as well as heartbreak and betrayal. It’s one of the finest films of the era of 1940s film noir as well as a study of a woman trying to survive and please her ungrateful daughter.
3. Saving Private Ryan
The film opens and ends in the late 1990s where an old man is in Normandy’s war memorial as he sees a gravestone where he thinks about the soldiers who fought at Omaha Beach on D-Day and later would travel through Nazi Germany-occupied France to find him. It’s an unusual way to start a film but Steven Spielberg’s World War II tale remains one of the finest films of the 20th Century as it also a standard bearer of what a war film should be. Its ending goes back to the late 1990s and who this old man is as it is about honor and duty as it is a great way to open and end a film.
© thevoid99 2019