In the first few scenes
of The Mission, we are introduced to
an Amazonian paradise, a lush expanse of leaf and stone and river. Waterfalls,
massive sheets of white foam, cascade into gaping chasms. It holds all the
power and mystery and beauty of Eden.
And there, amidst it
all, is martyrdom and blood, as a man strapped to a cross floats down the river to
Robert Bolt, the screenwriter, had a
fascination with identity. His protagonists often exist in a crisis zone where
the basic texture of their lives comes under extreme strain. This happens in
both Lawrence of Arabia and A Man for All Seasons,
as it does in The Mission. But instead of a
single leading role, the story is balanced between Cardinal Altamirano
(Ray MacAnally), Father Gabriel (Jeremy Irons), and Rodrigo Mendoza (Robert De Niro). While all three are interesting, this splintering of interest
contributes to a lack of focus in the narrative, and produces three distinct
And...that was a let-down. It's not a terrible episode, but a few logical fails manage to dispel much of the story.
Speaking of dispelling tension, we start by finding Tom, who is indeed in the woods bleeding. Paul Coates is creeping along singing hymns out of tune, because apparently that's what Hollywood people think priests do. The moment when he does find Tom is appropriately scary, but most everything's down-hill from there, because Ellie and Carver completely buy Tom's explanation that he was going looking for Lars so that he could confront him with...knowledge of his sins. Do normal children do this? I think not.
Tom must have been thinking: Incredible! One of the worst performances of my career, and they never doubted it for a second...
In Which: we discuss self-reliant heroes, danger in action movies, and why John Williams is the star of every movie he scores. Also: What is a swashbuckler? Is the Ark of the Covenant a weapon of mass destruction? Does this movie end with a Deus ex machina? And could Indiana Jones have been European?
All this and more in the second episode of The Pilgrim's Podcast.
If last week was a marked departure in terms of atmosphere, this week's plot has finally diverged significantly from the original. Not only does Tom Miller go missing, but we're introduced to the Creepy Backpacker, and Emmett Carver's daughter Julianne. All of this happening in one episode gives us a lot to chew on (not to mention the fact that it ends with a cliffhanger - AGH).
The last episode ended with the death of Jack Reinhold. We pick up as the town is coming together for a memorial service. Paul Coates gives the congregation a tongue-lashing (translation: mild rebuke, because the man has no charisma whatsoever) about failing Jack. Presumably, this is because they suspected him, because soon after this, Joe lets Carver have it about suspecting Paul Coates.
The theology of story, the need for grace to counterbalance justice, and throwing tea in the sea of Galilee. Should the plural
of fish be fish? What would the
world look like without police? Is Christianity a democracy? And is The Godfather
all about the Pharisees?
This episode is the first to really strike into new territory. And it does so in fairly dramatic fashion.
The unquestionable star is Nick Nolte, a surly teddy bear of a man, trying to cope as his life crumbles around his ears.
In the last episode, Nolte's character, Jack Reinhold, was accused of statutory rape. There's never really any question of his innocence - the man exudes sincerity. But while there isn't a tremendous amount of suspense about whether or not he's guilty, the episode makes the most of the tyranny of public opinion, the reaction of the community, and the way something like this is quickly sensationalized.
Things are about to change. Rumblings across the interwebs foreshadow the coming of changes for Longview the Blog. Don't panic, Dear Reader. Change cometh, like all things. (In related news, I've been blogging here for nearly a year. Wow.)
Things around here will pretty much stay the same (I'll still be posting regular reviews), but as of tomorrow, Longview will now a) operate under a new name, and b) host a movie podcast that's headed up by me, my dad, and a mystery host.
This has been in planning for some time, and it's the product of three things: a whim, the discovery that my computer houses a cheap microphone, and the fact that we already love to talk movies at length.
Since this is now the internet home of The Pilgrim's Podcast, my dad, Allan Long, (he prefers "The Patriarch") is now a guest contributor, and he'll post his thoughts on movies here from time to time. For a foretaste of that, check out his blog, What's He That Wishes So?
As for the mystery host, you'll just have to wait.
We recorded our first episode last night, and we're really excited about getting it out in the world (any tech tips would be highly appreciated). At the moment, I'm working on post-production stuff, finishing the theme music, etc. We're not sure when it'll be finished, but I'm hoping for sometime this week.
The plan is to make this a weekly deal. We'll let you know what the film is so you can watch it, or join in with any livetweets we may do.
The movie? We decided to start with some light family fare. The Godfather: Part I. (I. Am. Kidding. Don't watch it with the kids.) By the way, you can catch my livetweet of that movie here.
Apparently the only way Gracepoint's inhabitants have of dealing with their anger is to grab people by their jackets and shake them around. See Mark Solano vs. Paul Coates, and Paul Coates vs. Raymond Connolly.
But is there anybody out there that wasn't cheering when Owen Burke got knocked silly by the Wrath of Nick Nolte? And as for me, I think Emmett Carver ought to have been a bit harder on everybody's favorite psychic.