Sunday, 5 February 2017
A United Kinship.
123 Mins. Starring: Joel Edgerton, Ruth Negga, Marton Csokas, Nick Kroll & Michael Shannon. Director: Jeff Nichols.
What the world needs now is 'Loving'. And sweet love so does the Academy. As last year the Oscars were so wrong and this time they are trying to get it so right. 'Loving' is the heart of all of this in its performances of deep soul. No matter how many 'Fences' are put up by 'Moonlight'. Or how many 'Hidden Figures' make their 'Arrival' in 'La La Land' via 'Manchester By The Sea' or 'Hacksaw Ridge'. Because following his 'Midnight Special', Matthew McConaissance 'Mud' director Jeff Nichols-who is the next generation of filmaking greats like a Villeneuve or Chazelle-brings us his best yet with a couple forced to 'Take Shelter' like Michael Shannon and Jessica Chastain. 'Loving' concerns the surnames of Richard and Mildred. A couple who fell in love and married like any of us do or look to in life if we choose. But in the 1958 state of Virgina where to some in the South it was a problem that they were interracial. How big a problem? One year in prison big. Unless they left the state to not come back for 25 years. A quarter of a century. The prime of their married and family making life. Now that doesn't sound like love. But that cruelly and tragically was life in the South back in the 50's before Kings and Kennedys tried to do something about it. Something that showed that love is colorblind and character is based on its content, not it's creed. Something that was just somebodies dream until it came true. All until the harsh realities of what we still see today and the racial divide that is coming apart at the political seams (no) thanks to particular people in power. Therefore in all this gaslit war we could all use something with a little more heart right now. And 'Loving' is exactly that.
'Loving' is a subject-like it's director, his story and the figures of history that he is talking about-of mastered restrained passion. Showing todays world of pomp and circumstance by the timelines that real life changers belong inbetween the lines, just like real love plays behind the heart strings and not out in public. Just like 'A United Kingdom' with 'Selma's David Oyelowo and 'Gone Girl' Rosamund Pike, without any Hollywood gloss this movie set in Washington has the solitary stand and the feet to march up to the steps of D.C.'s Capitol with Abraham Lincoln watching over there freeedom. And this is what mines true talking pictures gold that make motions and moves just left of the Walk Of Fame in this month and cinematic infamy. In a blockbuster world where heroes are seen wearing capes this may sound a little underrated. And it's leading man personifies this notion perfectly with real heroic power. This true 'Warrior' who has played 'Gods and Kings' in 'Exodus' is no other but Australian actor Joel Edgerton. Ready to battle a 'Lion' from his home country with his own related family matters, Edgerton is eager to continue his impressive filmography that includes the likes of 'Star Wars' and 'The Great Gatsby', that looks to rise in this industry in time with his once overlooked stature here. The man who played the background in James Dean's 'Life' as an editor is the cover star of his own one here as he reunites with 'Midnight Special's' Michael Shannon, who plays a photographer for that very iconic magazine in their latest Jeff Nichols feature. How last years 'Black Mass' Depp deep scene stealer didn't edge out the competition here for a nomination is as amazing as Edgerton's performance that is worth it's emotional weight in Academy gold. Sure it's as shy a characterization as it is a conflicted one, but this is a portrait of a blue collar, working family man under so much duress and pressure that there's only one thing to do...the right thing and the work towards it like everything else in life you take care of the same way. A mild mannered man with moving mannerisms. Check the real portrait and just see how much Joel captures this Loving with all his fibre of being. Or just what Richard told the Supreme Court when asked if he wanted to send them a message. "I love my wife". It doesn't get much more straight forward than that. That's as simple and as beautiful as it is.
And that's just how it is when your wife is the ruthlessly sincere Ruth Negga. The eyes and bared soul of this movie that is it's nomination to Oscar legend and her own lasting legacy. The former recurring 'Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.' Inhuman shows real humanity in the face of monstrous oppositon that battles her every day at her front door. But best believe she'll win the war. And maybe even the trophy as shes more of a rock than Emma Stone. Her portraying a powerful figure of history just as important as Natalie Portman's 'Jackie'. Even if she is as 'Hidden' as Octavia Spencer. But no more. 'World War Z' and 'Warcraft' are just stories of her past. This is the fight that will stand the test to last. And a story she's willing to tell just like it's supporting players all to the subtle but right there forefront from unassuming but undeniable amassing, critical, integral director Jeff Nichols. There's 'The Equalizer' 'xXx', 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' and 'Abraham Lincoln-Vampire Hunter' big bad Martin Csokas who shows evern more abhorrent behaviour so bad you'll see just how great an actor he is. Even if when his cop character says "there's no good here" after being the one to give the Loving's a rude mid-nite hour awakwning, he should really be talking about himself. Or the showmanship of Nick Kroll who really lends a hand even after stealing the show as a stereotypical and literal Douche in Seth Rogen's Summer 'Sausage Party'. And of course what would a Jeff Nichols feature be without a third helping of Michael Shannon? The versatile 'Man Of Steel', 'Iceman' who is up for his own Oscar this year for his hell or high water sheriff support that kept Tom Ford's 'Nocturnal Animals' up, gives us his greatest cameo to a couple since he invaded DiCaprio and Winslet's home off 'Revolutionary Road'. But this story of love trying to find its home really hits you where you claim residence. Knocking like heaven shutting the door on a hell of a life guilted by other peoples sin claiming and blaming it as yours. Whether the Oscars claim it like the latest trend to avoid a Twitter backlash or ignore it like yesteryears news and the ignorant that make it, it will still remain revelant. Just like the great filmakers and actors that make it for an honor that's more than an award or theirs. History doesn't merely belong in a winners envelope. It resides in chapters of books and chambers of heart. This genuine story is as beautiful as true love itself. And how fittingly meant to be that in real life, history was made and this awful law changed for good...all in the name of Loving. TIM DAVID HARVEY.
See This If You Liked: 'Midnight Special', 'A United Kingdom', 'Hidden Figures'.