197 Someone to Watch Over Me

Discuss Blu-rays released by Indicator and the films on them.

Moderator: MichaelB

Message
Author
User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: Forthcoming: Someone to Watch Over Me

#26 Post by colinr0380 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:13 pm

I would also add in a vote for Black Rain as well, despite understanding the criticisms above (and the egregious crime of coming out the exact same year as the much more important film titled Black Rain by Shohei Imamura, requiring clarification on which Black Rain we are talking about beyond just giving the year as well!). I would tie it in with the other 'wary culture clash' film of the time, Red Heat, and it also has a certain interest (as does the later Rising Sun) for being made during the period where there were US fears of Japan's growing socioeconomic dominance in the time before their economic bubble burst.

It is also the first non-Paul Schrader film that Alan Poul associate produced (after Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters and Light of Day), and I have been wanting to revisit Black Rain since hearing Poul allude to this film's production on the Mishima commentary track. Poul was a key figure in bridging the cultural divide in the Mishima production and since then went on to other work, including Candyman and many television series, including most recently (at least according to imbd) apparently being executive producer on that in pre-production TV series Tokyo Vice, with an episode directed by Michael Mann. So I would be particularly interested in hearing what Alan Poul would have to say looking back on Black Rain!

And of course it looks stylish with Jan de Bont as Director of Photography!

User avatar
swo17
Bloodthirsty Butcher
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: Forthcoming: Someone to Watch Over Me

#27 Post by swo17 » Sat Apr 04, 2020 12:34 pm

Yeah, I only know Black Rain as the movie that comes up in searches when I try to find the Imamura film!

User avatar
therewillbeblus
Joined: Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:40 pm

Re: Forthcoming: Someone to Watch Over Me

#28 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Apr 04, 2020 1:07 pm

I was confused for far too long than I’d like to admit when I descended into this community a few years back and kept reading all this hyperbolic praise for Black Rain. I just assumed I was crazy for not seeing the connection in quality between Claire Denis and weird Michael Douglas ethnic war action films. I haven’t seen it since I was a kid but I don’t have the fondest of memories.

chucktatum
Joined: Mon Dec 30, 2013 4:56 pm

Re: Forthcoming: Someone to Watch Over Me

#29 Post by chucktatum » Sat Apr 04, 2020 3:21 pm

I find Scott's Black Rain to be incredibly racist. Maybe this movie felt like therapy for some people in its time, when there was a lot of fear of Japanese businesses "taking over" American ones but Jesus Christ.

Even if I'd seen it the year it came out, it would still have been offensive to watch Michael Douglas as a self-righteous white American cop strutting around Japan like he owns the place and knows better than anyone else, not to mention the checklist of other ugly Asian stereotypes lazily used throughout the film.

I love a good percentage of Ridley Scott's work, but Black Rain (along with Black Hawk Down and 1492) is a reminder that when it comes to other races and non-Western cultures, he's an old European guy who sees the world through an outdated/imperial lens.

User avatar
swo17
Bloodthirsty Butcher
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#30 Post by swo17 » Thu Feb 04, 2021 9:48 am


User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#31 Post by MichaelB » Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:19 am

Final specs for Someone To Watch Over Me:

Image

User avatar
Number Forty-Eight
Joined: Sun Jan 31, 2021 2:01 pm

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#32 Post by Number Forty-Eight » Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:00 pm

I suppose it's going to be the same master as before. Will probably grab it. One of Scott most underestimated films.

I also like A Good Year, maybe because it's shot in parts at Ridley Scott's own house, so it's nice to see where he's at when he's in the south of France.

beamish14
Joined: Fri May 18, 2018 3:07 pm

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#33 Post by beamish14 » Tue Apr 13, 2021 4:54 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Mon Apr 12, 2021 4:19 am
Final specs for Someone To Watch Over Me:

Image


Jim Hemphill is great. I've seen some great Q&A's moderated by him at the American Cinematheque.

User avatar
cdnchris
Site Admin
Joined: Tue Nov 02, 2004 2:45 pm
Location: Washington
Contact:

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#34 Post by cdnchris » Tue May 04, 2021 1:34 pm

Holy cow, this movie! I like Black Rain (all valid criticisms against it aside), and I guess I was expecting something similar in tone and look, just more along the lines of an erotic-thriller from this era, but what an absolute waste of time this film was. The whole central storyline (middle class cop connecting with very-well-to-do socialite) lacks any spark, the whole murderer thing lacks any tension, the climax is incredibly stupid with any thing that could be considered logic going out the window (not that the film was playing by logic at any point really), and worst of all the two leads have zero chemistry, so it's hard to care one iota when they finally get down to business. Lorraine Bracco and Andreas Katsulas are the only high points in this thing. Admittedly, I don't know who the fuck Katsulas is supposed to be in this film, but hey, at least he's menacing and chews out the scenery. Likewise, Bracco just knocks out every scene she's in and whenever she's around the film suddenly becomes interesting. Jerry Orbach phones it in but he was always the type that could just stand there and elevate whatever he's in.

Calling this mediocre would be over praising it. Never thought I'd long for a Shannon Tweed/Andrew Stevens movie.

User avatar
flyonthewall2983
Joined: Mon Jun 27, 2005 3:31 pm
Location: Indiana
Contact:

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#35 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Tue May 04, 2021 4:28 pm

Lorraine Bracco reminds me so much of my sister. I'm not sure what I was horrified by more, the scene where she gets beat up in Goodfellas, or when she appears topless in this.

User avatar
Adam X
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:04 am

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#36 Post by Adam X » Fri May 07, 2021 3:39 am

It sounds like you should just stop watching films featuring Lorraine Bracco.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#37 Post by MichaelB » Tue May 11, 2021 10:58 am

Someone to Watch Over Bea.

(Which was pretty much the only way I could render that SFW.)

User avatar
colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#38 Post by colinr0380 » Tue May 11, 2021 4:12 pm

Adam X wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 3:39 am
It sounds like you should just stop watching films featuring Lorraine Bracco.
It would be terribly wrong to deny oneself Medicine Man though.

User avatar
rapta
Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2014 5:04 pm
Location: Hants, UK

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#39 Post by rapta » Tue May 11, 2021 4:46 pm

Adam X wrote:
Fri May 07, 2021 3:39 am
It sounds like you should just stop watching films featuring Lorraine Bracco.
Or maybe just watch The Sopranos.

User avatar
swo17
Bloodthirsty Butcher
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#40 Post by swo17 » Tue May 11, 2021 4:51 pm

SpoilerShow
A show in which her character gets raped

User avatar
Adam X
Joined: Thu Apr 16, 2009 5:04 am

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#41 Post by Adam X » Wed May 12, 2021 9:39 am

…and I don’t think flyonthewall needs to add that to their list.

User avatar
MichaelB
Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 6:20 pm
Location: Worthing
Contact:

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#42 Post by MichaelB » Mon May 17, 2021 3:49 am


User avatar
John Cope
Joined: Thu Dec 15, 2005 5:40 pm
Location: where the simulacrum is true

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#43 Post by John Cope » Thu Jul 22, 2021 4:42 am

Watching this again for the first time in a long time, via the new Indicator disc, I'm stunned by the beauty of it. I've always considered this among Scott's very finest films, profoundly underrated, but, if anything, seeing it again only makes me think I did not give it enough credit before. So much of that really is in the level of the detail work, an almost overwhelming surfeit of detail. Scott always gets credit for his visual eye of course and the density of the detail within his artistic design but I think he outdoes himself here and the extraordinary quality of the HD image brings forth much that even I've never noticed before and I've seen this many, many times (e.g. the amount of framed photos of herself that Claire has decorating her apartment). It's just an exceptionally, and appropriately, rich and vivid treatment but one that goes beyond the intricacy of the detail and into a vast panorama of broader societal and cultural portraiture (I have never seen, for instance, a more beautiful skyline view of NYC then the aerial one that opens this picture and which, descending down from the crystalline heights of the Chrysler Building and into the surrounding boroughs, situates us in a more precise way).

Indeed, a case could be made (and would be by me) that Mike is just as much seduced by the overpowering elegance of the Manhattan upper east side milieu in all its pristine grandeur as he is by Claire herself. She ends up being acknowledged by the film I think as a representative of that other world, an image or idea of a world, one which cannot help but beguile those susceptible with all the foreignness and exoticism associated with a supreme mystery. Scott's presentation of Manhattan is so resplendent, so excessive, that it becomes ultimately as fantastical as any realm he has every surveyed, one awash in lavishness as well as refinement. The trip Mike takes into the city for his first tour at Claire's penthouse really is a tour; it's among my own favorite movie scenes, a simple seeming and yet epic voyage of discovery from one world to the next, one in which the scale of it is positively mythic.

And yet this tends to obscure what else is so good about the film, namely that it's far more complex in its presentation of these clashing worlds than may seem at first apparent (when we too are as overwhelmed by Scott's set design and lighting schemes as Mike is with the microcosm of Claire's apartment). While one may overwhelm the other they are points along the same spectrum. Scott's version of Queens is gorgeous in its own distinctive way, just less opulent and more familiar in its grittiness. There is also the matter of the music. Throughout the film, both ends of the spectrum are associated with songs or pieces of music which situate them very much within a dreamlike and idealist nostalgic past. Some of this has to do with the film's noir aspirations of course but it goes way past that into a realm in which Claire's world is represented through Al Bowlly and Mike's through 50's or 60's pop rock. This is again a grand dream of imagined artifice magnified in extreme ways to make both the contrast bolder and to draw out more of the comforting familiar and the vastness of a transfixing alien otherness.

Similarly there is the moral contrast between the characters with all its attendant ambiguity which the film also features prominently. And this goes into the daringness of the film's sexual politics in which Mike's masculine strength is never enough and is often undermined or put into a hard contrast with other elements. He actually is not defined by that familiarly conceived masculine strength which he may be thought to bring to bear implicitly. Rarely is he able to demonstrate it and on those occasions when he does it's immediately undercut or complicated: Mike takes out the hitman who steals his way into Claire's apartment, for instance, but right after that we get the shot of him alone and diminished at the end of the hospital hallway having been caught out for his illicit affair. But what further complicates this is that if he had not been at her apartment to begin with (when he ostensibly should not have been) both Claire and his police partner T.J. would be dead. Mike's final flourish of heroism is finally depicted through his sheer willingness to risk himself for others and this is critical as it's the strength needed to possibly mend his broken relationship.

Claire, meanwhile, demonstrates moral resolve (unlike her quisling boyfriend Neil) when she determines to be a witness for the police and there is the great moment in which she provides emotional comfort for the weary and weakened Mike ("Let me watch over you tonight.") but her consideration obviously does not extend to relationship fidelity. Mike's wife Ellie ultimately demonstrates strength beyond what either of the other two characters are capable. She rises to the occasion at the end with the necessary active strength to overcome a violent threat but she also demonstrates fidelity, loyalty and the capacity for forgiveness and this is understood as perhaps the most difficult accomplishment of all, requiring a moral courage that is as rare as Claire's world is rarefied (Bracco is often given the most credit here for the range of her performance and its naturalness and it is exceptional but it's also very much geared toward being on another level, representative of another level from the rest of them; while they are the representative figures of High Melodrama she is more relatable and recognizably human and, as such, provides the moral ideal for our own world).

User avatar
swo17
Bloodthirsty Butcher
Joined: Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:25 am
Location: SLC, UT

Re: 197 Someone to Watch Over Me

#44 Post by swo17 » Mon Aug 02, 2021 10:12 am

flyonthewall2983 wrote:
Tue May 04, 2021 4:28 pm
Lorraine Bracco reminds me so much of my sister. I'm not sure what I was horrified by more, the scene where she gets beat up in Goodfellas, or when she appears topless in this.
I'm not sure how concerned I should be that this conjures up compromising images of your sister for you, considering that
SpoilerShow
there isn't actually any nudity in the film!

Post Reply