Friday, December 15, 2017
Directed By: Mike Nichols
Written By: Nora Ephron & Alice Arlen
Cinematography By: Miroslav Ondricek
Editor: Sam O’Steen
Cast: Meryl Streep, Cher, Kurt Russell, Bruce McGill, Diana Scarwid, Ron Silver, Fred Ward, Craig T. Nelson, Josef Sommer, Charles Hallahan, Alice Arlen, James Rebhorn, Ray Baker, Anthony Heald, Bill Cobbs, Will Patton, Tess Harper, M. Emmett Walsh
Fairly accurate recounting of the story of Karen Silkwood, the Oklahoma nuclear-plant worker who blew the whistle on dangerous practices at the Kerr-McGee plant and who died under circumstances which are still under debate.
The movie is based on a true story. The picture was released nine years after the events depicted in the film, in 1974.
The film fits In With the conspiracy thrillers at the time of big business and corporations dirty dealings. Treating them more as character pieces which helps put a human face in it, with an expose attached. As usually the main character is someone not looking for trouble not a challenge, but is presented to them and decides to proceed.
They don't make films like these anymore. As if made today it would be seen as a fictional conspiracy thriller more focused on plot than character or it would be some larger than life drama. Either that or a tv-movie miniseries or more likely an expose documentary for a news program. Also now a days there are too many to report. That picking one they will shock an audience is too hard.
Sometimes you don't know how good a film will be because of advance word. You can relax and just enjoy a film more or if even just by a pleasant opening. You sit back as you are already charmed. Is it the direction, the acting or the writing or a combination from presentation. That's how the film works and stays captivating even before the dramatic thriller elements come into play.
Making it a film of combination and tone that never calls attention to itself but keeps your attention by being itself naturally. Though what would you expect in a film written by Nora Ephron based in a true story and directed by Mike Nichols and filled with recognizable actors all around especially now.
Watching this film in hindsight even with the so called health protection protocols. The constant smoking throughout by most of the characters. As well as the life style the main Character leads shows she is far from absent from trouble but not a muckraker or saint. She doesn't deserve the way she is treated. Meryl Streep's performance makes her so like able and down to earth. So that even as things get dire you truly feel her pain and feel sorry for her. As she tried to keep her wits about her and her cunningness. Her performance is so free of vanity and open. It feels realistic.
When it comes to Meryl Streep. What is more compelling the performance or the character? As her character becomes as driven as much as an obsession as she investigates. Even with continuous warnings and being shut out at work.
The scene where she finds out she is internally contaminated is a heartbreaker and ear while being perfectly Contained visually. --This film is majorly anchored by her and it is clear she is front and center throughout that she is the star of the show and earns it.
This actually might be one of my favorite performances by her at least out of the ones I have seen her in. As with currently she still has her dramatic strength in her roles. She seems to pick more various roles these days that seem more fun for her or at least ones that she clearly enjoys. I am sure it is a reflection of the market place and the roles she is offered, but she seems to stay true to herself. Taking a more artistic and dramatic role only every few roles. The rest are more playful.
The film captures the small town ambiance and mentality. The power of the film is in how normal the characters are not martyrs nor saints. They still have everyday problems even with this one at the center of their lives.
The film let's us get to know her by spending enough time with her before her descent and also exposing us to the dangers of her job. As well as the mindset of the company she works for and is questionably negligent and the way it works as well as getting to know her co-workers and her lifestyle. Making the decontamination look more like an assault more than anything how dehumanizing and painful it is.
Though things seem to be fishy already even when they think she caused a leak. As she more seems interested in keeping the company from blaming her and losing her job. As well as sticking it to the company when they try to blame her. Which also happens when she actually gets contaminated. Though once started the thriller elements are more hidden in everyday experiences with a hint of suspense.
These types of films feel so familiar as there have been so many since then, but even as the stakes are raised it never fully feels like a conspiracy thriller. It stays constantly detailed and natural.
The films also shows the characters domestic situation. Breaking down the more she gets into the investigation as her romantic interest's jealousy of her becoming aware and not focusing so much attention onto him.
Cher is also good in this film in a smaller supporting role that serves more as a best friend role especially as her relationship seems to keep coming apart.
The characters are sexually promiscuous though the film offers nor points at any judgements one more suggested and told then shown. Which makes the movie more measured and adult especially in presentation, filmmaking and storytelling.
It always seems to be a revelation to see Craig T. Nelson in major movies. As it seemed when I grew up he was strictly a tv actor on the show COACH. I only really remember seeing him in one movie ACTION JACKSON. While awesome it was still one of the few I know about but now watching highly regarded films and him cast in them it still remains a shocker. Not that he isn't a good actor.