Monday, January 26, 2009

DOUBT - A BADASS MOVIE REVIEW



JAN 23, 2009
DOUBT

With the Academy Awards around the corner, I am powering through all of the contenders.DOUBT is a movie that has been on my horizon for some time, so I did the takedown. I have to cite that this is going to be subjective as hell. I have to admit first off that I knew that this was a film adapted from a stageplay. With that knowledge, the trickster was able to have his way with me by constantly by drawing attention to the stage aspects of the film. Stage acting requires a lot of talk and subtleties. I would say that the subtleties that Phillip Seymour
Hoffman, Meryl Street and Amy Adams have to convey are probably as strong if not stronger than what any actor would have top convey onstage. I state this because of the extreme close-ups that permeate modern film.

Some movies translate well from the stage. DEATH OF A SALESMAN or GLENGARRY GLEN
ROSS are two examples that come to mind. Other films get tripped up in the new freedom that film affords vs the confines of the stage. Some translations from the stage to film flounder neatly inbetween it all. DOUBT seems to be caught up in the middle-ground translation flounder. The upshot is that the acting is SO MESMERIZINGLY GOOD that the viewer is made unaware of the translation issues until retrospect.

In a nutshell, there are a few sets and a whole LOT of talk. However, the slight and the heavy-handed in the atmosphere of all the sets really marks this as a beautiful film in some ways. Autumn leaves blowing around Philip Seymour Hoffman are a prime example of things that could never have happened onstage.

The story? It is really rather simple. Meryl Streep's character suspects Hoffman's character of an improper relationship with a male student at a catholic school. There is no evidence, only the facial tics and excellent dialogue to drive us towards the truth. But check the title of the film, because that is where you will always be.

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