Thursday, 21 July 2011

Film Review - American Beauty

Release: 1999
Director: Sam Mendes
Starring: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Thora Birch, Mena Suvari

Sometimes you constantly hear about a film, especially one that wins many Oscars, and is referenced and parodied. Sometimes this happens for a damn good reason. American Beauty is one of those.

Kevin Spacey is a frustrated suburbanite going through a mid-life crisis, and raises his middle finger to expectation and responsibility and changes his life. Not without consequence of course.

He develops a fantasy about his daughter's slutty friend, while his rapidly-becoming-estranged wife looks outside of the marriage for her fulfillment, and his daughter gets involved with the weird loner boy who videotapes everything.

The very first time I saw the film I somehow didn't take note of the fact that Spacey's opening narration says ".. and I'm dead now". His death is as senseless as he considered his life before that point, but he died with a content smile on his face which really resonates.

The cinematography is stunning. As boring and drab as Spacey's world is, it's full of beautiful, rich colour. As the tale of this average family unfolds to its tragic conclusion, I was totally wrapped in the characters and their desires, emotions and failures. It just goes to show you don't need lots of action to be gripped by a film.

If you haven't seen this film, you are seriously missing out


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