Two films checked today (Friday), well in all truthfulness three were viewed as I rewarded myself a treat of watching ‘The King’s Speech’ again which unfortunately wasn’t in the Top 250 at the time of me printing the list on January 1st, again it makes you proud to be British and was the perfect swansong for the now defunct UK Film Council.
94 / 365 – ‘Good Will Hunting’ (1997) – 126 mins
IMDb Challenge #57 / 250 – Ranked #195 – Via DVD Collection
20-year-old Will Hunting (Damon) is a janitor at MIT in Boston. He’s also a mathematical genius with chip on his shoulder. He’s discovered by a professor solving a formula, but isn’t interested in academia. Trouble with the law changes everything, and soon Will is discussing his abilities, but more importantly receiving counselling from working class psychiatrist Sean Maguire (Williams).
Good Will Hunting is a beautifully executed film that perfectly echos the art of story telling. Gus Van Sant directed this inspiring and uplifting story of a man of amazing genius but who is also a vulnerable of his tormented past, but the real winner here is in intelligent script crafted by the two talented script-writers and best friends, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon – where Affleck has continued to show this remarkable skill for writing in his directorial debut ‘Gone Baby Gone’ (2007), a film I highly recommend you watch.
There are fantastic performances all round from a first-rate cast, but it is Robin Williams that vividly shines through giving the film all its heart and the Oscar he received was undeniably deserved and proves he is fantastic at portraying the quiet roles as well the over-the-top crazy ones. Having enjoyed Good Will Hunting on many occasions it is unquestionably one my all-time favourites, with it simply being, as good as movies get.
95 / 365 – ‘The Night of the Hunter’ (1955) – 93 mins
IMDb Challenge #58 / 250 – Ranked #189 – Via iTunes
On release from prison, where he befriended a young bank robber / killer who has been condemned to die, psychopathic Harry Powell (Robert Mitchum) tracks down the man’s widow (Shelley Winters) and marries her in order to lay his paws on the heist money. Thwarted in his attempts to discover where the loot is hidden, the frustrated Powell turns his attention to the widow’s two young children who flee with the stash into the countryside where they take refuge with a shotgun-toting spinster (Lilian Gish) while the menace of the marauding preacher looms.
The Night of the Hunter was initially a flop on its cinematic release in 1955 and the criticism caused this to be Charles Laughton’s (who was fantastic in ‘Spartacus’ 1960) only film as a director. For me this criticism is all to painfully evident to see, with its biggest problem lying in that of protagonist Preacher Harry Powell, played by Robert Mitchum who does is best here, to give the man of God with L-O-V-E and H-A-T-E tattooed on the knuckles of each hand, some suspense, to which tagline exclaims “The wedding night, the anticipation, the kiss, the knife, BUT ABOVE ALL… THE SUSPENSE!” sorry but this didn’t evoke any anticipation and certainly not a single ounce of suspense
If you are seeking a truly suspenseful Robert Mitchum then check out the original 1962 version of ‘Cape Fear’ where he gave the most electrifying portraits of evil in his career. The only acclaim I can give ‘Night of the Hunter’ is its beautiful shadowy cinematography. This is certainly for me is with doubt the worst film I have encountered on the IMDb #250, so far and really voters to rank it at 189?? above other timeless pieces.