Tuesday, January 6, 2015

BEST OF 2010-2014 #6 CARLOS

Forceful. Commanding. Absolutely gripping. There’s a brooding sense of danger and impending violence that hangs over every frame of Olivier Assayas’s five hour epic Carlos. Edgar Ramirez went all out in his searing, terrifying, completely transformative performance as the infamous terrorist Carlos “The Jackal”. The verisimilitude of Assayas’s filmmaking is exquisite, and as the film swiftly progre...sses due to the dynamic and exhilarating pacing, the viewer can’t help but be fully engrossed by the stunning craft and meticulous details on display. With procedural elements that are worthy of Pakula/Fincher comparisons and showcasing a sprawling narrative that spans the final years of the Cold War, Carlos is vast in scope yet intimate with its fine details. Considering the elephantine length, multiple viewings are necessary in order to distill each and every plot-point, fact, relationship, and motive. The viewer is treated to Ramirez burning up the screen with an intensely physical, Brando-esque performance of transformation and verbal command. French filmmaker Assayas utilizes hand-held camera work, a propulsive musical score, nimble editing, and a variety of spoken languages which all helps to create a totally real and organic atmosphere and viewing experience. Much of the film feels like a documentary, and the ability of Assayas and his crew to transport the audience into many of these frightening sequences makes the film feel incredibly vital. Carlos sort of feels like distant cousins with Steven Spielberg’s Munich, another terrorism epic set all across Europe. The international hop-scotching and zigzagging of Carlos is extremely impressive especially when you consider how many speaking parts there are in this massive film. It’s a towering achievement for all involved.

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