Wednesday 26 October 2011

At Close Range - Auf kurze Distanz

In 1986 Prizzi's honour and Out of Africa secured the memorable Oscars. For a moment just then I thought Out of Africa had the memorable line 'Not another fucking beautiful day' as the veranda shutters were thrown open on a Kenya Savanna morning but I think that may have been White Mischief.

However as usual, the Oscar judges made a mistake. It's hard to find a single flaw in any scene by Sean Penn throughout At Close Range but for a staggeringly quintessential Christopher Walken performance this movie nail-guns the red carpet into the concrete with ease. 

Shoulda got an Oscar. Great performances by Mary Stuart Masterson and Chris Penn is great playing brother on screen as well as off.

A couple of weeks ago I met a German friend of mine who insisted that Sean Penn is rubbish so I countered with have you seen Harvey Milk to which he responded 'you could play a great homosexual Charles' which I found very funny on a lot of levels at the time. In any case I guess not everyone thinks, as I do, that Sean Penn is one of the finest actors of my generation and furthermore I think he pisses over any of the greats, from any era of the 20th century. Particularly the clich├ęd picks of Olivier or Gielgud.

I was just enjoying the fine screen performances to a workable though slow moving script when the narrative takes a sharp right turn about three quarters of the way through, so hang in there. The entire movie is on Youtube and the first part is above.

It's set in Pennsylvania and is based on a true story.