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A great movie

Posted : 7 years, 8 months ago on 7 September 2010 10:44

To be honest, it has been ages since I have seen this movie and I should definitely re-watch it at some point. Even though we don’t hear much from Emir Kusturica nowadays (in fact, he will make a come-back in 2016 with a new movie starring Monica Bellucci but I wonder if it will be really good) but back in the 80’s and 90’s, he was definitely one of the best directors in the world. In fact, after gathering some international critical success, he got the opportunity to work in the USA. Eventually, it would be the only American movie directed by this guy and it turned out to be his best one, at least, in my opinion. Back then, Johnny Depp was maybe not the biggest movie star in the world (however, you can argue that his days as box-office king are pretty much behind him by now)  but he was definitely one of the most interesting actors at work at the time and he gave here a really strong performance. I’ll have to admit it, the story was rather weird and sometimes rather difficult to follow but the mood was just great and unique. To conclude, I think it is one of the most mesmerizing movies ever made and I think it is definitely worth a look, especially if like you like the genre or if you are interested in Johnny Depp's work.

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Surrealism done correctly!

Posted : 10 years ago on 18 May 2008 10:32

"Whenever I try to remember my dreams, I always turn 'em into stories. But dreams are like life. You can't catch it with your hands because you can't catch something you don't really see. If you believe in your dreams, you could be sure that any force, a tornado, a volcano or a typhoon, wouldn't be able to knock you out of love; because love exists on its own."

Arizona Dream is an example of a surrealistic film done to perfection. The film is a potent tale of life and the danger of dreams with the backdrop of an otherworldly, bizarre setting. This isn't your customary Hollywood spectacle with guns and explosions - far from it. Its entertainment value is drawn from the powerful drama and the extraordinary performances. The outcome is emblematic, distinctive and very special.

It's an especially daunting task to describe the plot of the film in any real detail without spoiling anything. To follow the movie it's imperative that you listen intimately to the dialogue and constantly endeavour to comprehend what is happening in each scene.

Axel Blackmar (Depp) is an unusual young man who dreams of peculiar images. In the opening sequence he dreams of an Eskimo who catches a rare halibut to bring back to the family igloo. This prominent image of a halibut is recurring throughout the movie; in a sense carrying each scene symbolically. Axel provides an income for himself by catching and tagging fish. Taking a break from his regular life, he leaves to attend the wedding of his Uncle Leo (Lewis). Leo is so caught up in his own world that he believes Axel will take over his family business of selling Cadillacs. However Axel is an individual responsible for his own destiny: this is something that Leo is too stubborn and narrow-minded to understand. While at Leo's wedding Axel meets a young girl named Grace (Taylor) and her step-mother Elaine (Dunaway).

Arizona Dream is then a story about the difficult lives of several people. In addition to the aforementioned protagonists there is also a wannabe actor named Paul (Gallo) who's also obsessed with films (one of Paul's most memorable scenes is when he's mimicking the famous scene from Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest). The spiritual journey of each character is rich in surrealistic imagery and fascinating drama. Be it building a flying machine, wishing to be reincarnated as a turtle or becoming an actor; each character has their own unique journey to accomplish.

I can't stress this enough: if you're going to watch a movie like this with the expectations of something blatant and wholly complete, stay far away. Arizona Dream is exactly what the title suggests: something dreamlike and bizarre. The themes explored are mature and adult. Hence this is not for people who expect some Hollywood action exhibition.

The film is also carried by the determined cast. I will watch anything with Johnny Depp in it - this is a fact and the sole reason I watched the film. I don't think I've ever seen a character that Johnny hasn't played to perfection. Here, he completely nails his role. It's impossible to spot flaws in his concentration or sustaining a developed character for the film's running time. Fay Dunaway is visibly aging, but this does not prevent her from presenting the audience with a remarkable portrayal. Whenever someone thinks of Jerry Lewis it's instinct to recall his rise to stardom during the 60s and 70s. Playing in a drama, Lewis also does a magnificent job.

I couldn't have chosen better actors to fill the supporting cast. The actors especially test their versatility during the most memorable scene in the movie - that is, a dinner scene. The cherry on top is everything else present in the film - strong direction, beautiful music and outstanding use of the camera. The music emphatically scores top marks! It's definitely the film's main strength. Each piece of music is absolutely beautiful. Some of the recurring music is catchy and adds further meaning to the production. The music here is the pinnacle of perfection.

Arizona Dream is a unique production that is strictly for those whose attention spans aren't limited to the conventional fast-paced Hollywood rubbish. If action films are your interest I recommend giving this one a skip. If you're willing to spend 135 minutes of your time on a potent drama rich in symbolism and beautiful, poetic themes then this one is highly recommended.

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