It's funny how the film feels remarkably sleazy while actually showing a minimum of sex and violence. I'd like to see what De Palma could do under the protection of HBO or Showtime.
I think the quality of Malick's voice-overs has gradually declined, as they've become detached from character. I get your point about the abstraction of the THE THIN RED LINE voice-over, but there's an increasing distance from the notion of character itself in TO THE WONDER. Ben Affleck, in particular, seems to be playing a posture rather than a person, and the same is true of the actresses. It's less true of Bardem only because he's interacting with real people much of the time, although I found the film's view of modern suburbia a lot less interesting than you did.
Micha, the film itself blames Pat's illness for his violent episodes. After all, he wound up in a mental hospital for assaulting someone. If anyone's guilty of spreading the stigma that people with bipolar disorder are prone to violence, it's David O. Russell, not me or Sicinski. I just wish the film would play through the implications of what it sets out for Pat's condition, rather than casting them aside because it wants to be a cheerful rom-com at heart.
Sicinski did an excellent job of summing up my problems with SLP. I wasn't trying to say that all people with bipolar disorder are overweight or cant be attractive, but weight gain is a common, well-known side effect of psychiatric medications. But the real problem with SLP is that it treats bipolar disorder and other mental problems as a cute quirk to add spice to a formulaic romance, or, at best, a problem for its characters to overcome on the road to True Love. For example, why does the film hint that Jennifer Lawrence's character has problems with compulsive sex and then drop this when she falls in love with Cooper's character? Mental illness is a McGuffin, essentially, and I find this somewhat offensive.
No one reliable seems to have reviewed the film Makhmalbaf made in Israel, shown in Rotterdam last month. An Iranian expat working in Israel is quite an intriguing concept.
ARGO does strike me as a film that could have been made in the early '80s although the opening cartoon about the CIA's meddling in Iranian affairs probably would have been left out back then. (Its inclusion does show a shred of perspective, I think.) In my dreams, Jafar Panahi or Mohsen Makhmalbaf, rather than Ben Affleck, would've directed it.
I've never seen THE DEER HUNTER, but I should add that I'm a big fan of John Woo's BULLET IN THE HEAD, which has been described as an Asian take on its themes and structure, with Vietnam standing in for fears of the mainland Chinese takeover of Hong Kong in 1997.
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