Thursday, March 26, 2009
State and Main (2000)
Directed by David Mamet. I don't read much about movies so maybe this isn't much of a revelation but I didn't realize until seeing this how similar Mamet's directing is to Robert Altman's. The difference of course is that Altman, a major stoner, felt that the strength of a movie is in the actors, while Mamet obviously puts a hell of a lot more effort into the screenplay. Ultimately, Altman's principle resulted in a lot of mediocre movies, the good ones distinguished by stronger screenplays.
Anyway. I kept intending to see this but saw other movies instead until Karen finally chose to watch it by herself one day and I immediately found myself sucked in. It further confirmed for me that Alec Baldwin is awesome, but the overall strength here is in numbers. The huge cast spitting out Mamet's stylish but ultimately believable dialogue is just great. Other than a false ending in the third act that is ridiculously absurd, this one is tight as a drum and presents a cynical take on Hollywood types, coincidentally reminiscent of Altman's "The Player."
There's also a lot of "hey it's that guy" character actors in this, all of whom knock it out of the park. But I do want to point out how disappointed I am that Julia Stiles doesn't seem to make any movies I give a shit about. She's beautiful and has a voice I could listen to forever. I loved her in this, and I like those Jason Bourne movies she's in, but those are so caffeine-adventure flicks they almost don't count.