It Was a Weird Year for Movies

I watch a lot of movies, but this year’s lot stands out in my mind as being particularly weird.  I saw several movies that seemed to relish in awkwardness.  They were all good, sure, but had bizarre, uncomfortable qualities.  My picks:

1. Drive
Advertised as a high-octane driving/crime movie along the lines of the The Transporter or Fast & the Furious series this ended up being a character study of … uhm … someone?  The man character could easily be interpreted as being mentally handicapped or perhaps a man exercising remarkable restraint based on past experiences.  The movie made a whiplash-inducing tonal shift part way through, jarringly switching between a kind of sweet-natured slice-of-life and almost exceedingly graphic crime drama.  The music and presentation only further screws with the audience by referencing elements of the 80’s (from the font used on the poster to the very synthesized music.)

2. The Guard
Another one when where the music often worked to make things feel not quite right, this film’s score evoked classic spaghetti westerns however it had a bad habit of kicking things into high gear when nothing was happening.  On the side of characters and dialogue, the impenetrable accents (which were probably just fine for the English) only further confounded humor based on rampant racism and a hero of very questionable moral fiber.

3. Hanna
I remember after watching this movie someone remarked that it seemed very European.  I’m not entirely sure what that meant, but I appreciate the sentiment that it just didn’t seem American.  Weird uses of color, sometimes using some very harsh lighting schemes along with direction that pulled some bizarre stunts (the camera circling around for no apparent reason, not even dramatic effect, during an escape sequence, or having a character on screen syncing his actions with music he wasn’t hearing, etc.) give the proceedings an dream-like quality that was certainly intentional but still not expected from what appeared to be a simple action movie.


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