Out of all the film’s director Clint Eastwood has crafted, Mystic River is the most frustrating and spectacular of all. It has such great moments within it, but they are wrapped in a blanket of oozing, horrendously thought-out intentions. Where great characters come together, they stumble through their fixations. Childhood friends with dark and gritty lives, people who have outgrown one another yet are changed, for better or worse, by another tragedy that brings them back together. Mystic River is in good hands, it has horrible intentions and strikes a chord with them clearly and quickly, but those darker moments are never mused on effectively even with such great performers at the helm.
We live in the land of rejection, but much of The Player is focused on how we adapt to sore losers than an implicit desire to improve upon refusal. Its tale of a studio executive hounded by death threats from an anonymous writer is in pole position to criticise and chastise the Hollywood scenery. With Robert Altman helming a finely-tuned ensemble, it is hard to see where or why he could put a foot wrong when presenting Griffin Mill (Tim Robbins) to audiences. As its tracking shot makes the hectic life of a studio producer known, The Player introduces us to the lust, allures and obscenities of star-power, stardom and desire.
The nuances and comedic timing of Joel and Ethan Coen is detrimental to their success as directors. Their ability to weave dark humour into the fabric of relatively straight-forward pieces is fascinating to me, and how seamlessly they manage to make this connection is inspiring. The Hudsucker Proxy proves that even the best have their misfires, and this Tim Robbins led piece inspires little in the way of innovation. All the classic components of a Coen Brothers collaboration appear in broad strokes, but never in a focused enough mindset to provide something that isn’t a sweeping, rather bland statement with uninspired characters and a rather drab realisation of its script.