Just because class is over, doesn't mean all the blogs have to be long pieces of sentiment to the retiring Mr. Bennet. That's not to say I didn't appreciate the class, it was the height of my day during school. I will miss Bennet greatly, and if I wasn't so lazy from my day and a half of summer vacation, I'd steal a few quotes from Danny White's and Mr. Bennet's latest posts.
Now then...on to the movie. The first thing I noticed about this film after I finished watching it was that all the details of NYC were 100% dead on. The 6 train went to Peldham, they explained the heirarchy of the subway workers system exactly as is. They even got the Dow stuff right (except for the figure, it hasn't been 12,000 in like 2 years)I also noticed that the music was energetic, full of guitar heavy rock. The best of the soundtrack was in the opening credits when we hear a Jay-Z, Linkn Park combo (they are the Run DMC/Aerosmith of their day)
This film has a poorly lit mis-en-scene, to portray the relatively cynical view of New York that drives the plot. Denzel Washigton, though largely out of shape and bald, puts on a fine performance. It seems somewhat acting 101 with the long pauses and seemingly cliche lines, but it was satisfying. His marriage seems to be based more on his love for his children than his wife. He takes a bride to pay for his kid's tuition. When he tells his wife that he must go negotiate with a terrorist his wife tells him "we need milk", he does not call to warn her that the house will be searched by the police, she has to call him after they show up, when he explains why he took the bride Travolta says "that's love", Denzel responds "No that's marriage, that's completely different."
John Travolta's nut job character puts on a delightful "I'm black and I'm crazy" type of persona. A lot of street like cursing, probably to show his reeducation in prison. He won't win an Oscar for best original character, but it is a good fit for the heist genre. There is even some anti-New Jersey propaganda, turns out Travolta's character is from across the Hudson. He is also a devout Catholic, ironically as he kidnaps and holds ransom 19 New York subway users. This is meant to add cynicism to the film. Everybody is dirty, even Denzel who we learn took a $35,000 bribe.
As the film progresses, we learn that there is a recovering drug addict on the train and he is the only one willing to be a martyr. Travolta shoots him when he is holding an 8 year old (I assume) boy at gunpoint. This nails the point in, the scum of the earth are the best of us. There's so little unity among us that something like this could happen. On an unrelated note, there are shout outs to Bloomberg. James Gandolfini, who plays mayor, says that he only receives $1 per year for his service, and that as soon as he ends his term, he'll never ride a subway again (if you recall the whole "Even I ride the subway" bs)
Though its not a great film, it is an exciting one. I recommend it to forget about life for two hours. Farewell SIT film class of 2009, I'll miss some of you.