Sunday, April 05, 2009

Movie Review

This weekend, I watched my three new movies. I purchased To Kill a Mockingbird, Inherit the Wind, and 12 Angry Men. I'd seen two of these movies before, but it'd been about 20 years since I last saw them, so I was watching them with fresh eyes.

On Friday, the family got together and watched To Kill a Mockingbird. This was one of Gregory Peck's finest roles and an all around amazing movie. What struck me about the movie was the pacing. It was deliberately paced and set from a child's perspective. You could definitely feel the mood in the movie. Our children were frightened of Boo Radley's house. The story is a classic one of prejudices in the South, and of doing what's right, not what's popular.

Yesterday morning we watched Inherit the Wind. This movie, a classic starring Frederic March, Spencer Tracy, and Gene Kelly, is a fictionalized version of the Scopes "Monkey" Trial. The basic facts are the same, a schoolteacher is arrested for teaching evolution in violation of state law. Two heavyweight attorneys are brought in to try the case. The status quo is put on trial. The performances by the three stars really make this movie, a compelling movie in its own right, into one of the best movies of the past 50 years. The movie is timeless, because it touches on a subject that is enduring. As recently as two weeks ago, the Texas legislature was arguing similar points about relaxing the science standards in public schools, and just a few years ago, Kitzmiller showed that the Creationists are still working towards putting religious-based education back in public schools.

The last movie we watched, 12 Angry Men, was probably my favorite of the three. The tension in the room is palpable, and the performances passionate. The temerity of one man to demand that the jury take one more moment to reconsider what they thought was a foregone conclusion and the attack on the jurors' and audiences prejudices and stereotypes to find the right result makes for phenomenal cinema.

At the end of the day, I would definitely recommend any of the three films as they are all terrific.