Warning. Potential Spoilers ahead.
You’ve probably all heard of Gravity. The Alfonso Cuarón movie currently topping box offices around the world. Depending on what you may or may not know this short post may reveal things better experienced in the cinema, so for safety’s sake you’re best off watching the film before reading this article.
What is so fascinating about this film is its approach to narrative. As Catherine Shoard says on the latest Guardian Film Show, Gravity has a purity of story that is very refreshing. It’s about placing the leads (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) within a context and watching the results of their actions unfold. It’s told in almost entirely in real-time, ensnaring you into this context too through dazzling visuals and (optional) well executed 3D.
You can’t fight it, so don’t even bother. Christmas is coming and regardless of how little you think you care about it, you will get sucked into the advertisements, enchanted by decorative department stores and become, like the rest of us, a googley eyed child who can’t sleep on Christmas Eve.
In a day and age when 50 Shades of Grey and the Bared To You series is still rampant I have felt inspired to recommend a book that also has intensely sexual themes but, unlike James’ and Day’s novels, is oozing with powerful, captivating writing.
Philip Roth‘s epic comedy follows Mickey Sabbath, a disgraced puppeteer with an unquenchable thirst for explicit and depraved sexual encounters. Following the death of his long-time mistress, Sabbath is forced down a farcical and retrospective path, encountering the real and recalled people who were closest to him in his life. Mickey’s character unfolds throughout the novel: his overt sexuality, his self-loathing and lack of direction become clearer to us whilst almost everything remains obscure and confusing to him.
In post-war America, Freddie Quell (Joaquin Phoenix) is struggling to find his place. After a string of unsuccessful jobs he ends up ender the patriarchal wing of Lancaster Dodd (Philip Seymour Hoffman), he makes Freddie feel as if he has found his place in the world, that he has found purpose by following this larger than life figure. However, as their friendship deepens and Dodd seeks more followers for his religious mission, The Cause, Freddie begins to look deeper into himself and what kind of a man he really wants to be.
The Master is now one of my favourite films ever.
Bioshock Infinite has received high praise from players and almost perfect review scores from almost all the well known game reviewers. It’s success seems to derive not only from it’s fast paced, anarchic gameplay but also from it’s well written and imaginative story. That is what drew me to this game, the promise of something truly unique in video games, something possessive of a true narrative experience like only a handful of games nowadays dare to do. I could close this paragraph with the open question: ‘Does this game live up to other narrative games such as Red Dead Redemption, Ico, or the Original two Bioshock games? Read on to find out…’
But I won’t. Because Infinite does match the achievements of those games… and then it surpasses them.
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