Thursday, November 21, 2013

SECONDS (John Frankenheimer, 1966, USA)

Arthur Hamilton loses himself in the drudgery of middle age and conceit, possessed by materialism and success which have become superficial trappings that resonate in the empty chambers of his aging heart. He is adrift and alone, a wife and daughter can offer no salvation from these distant shores of space, and he must find himself once again…or continue to walk the earth virtually lifeless, a victim to the slow fade of love.
But Arthur gets a Second chance. A phone call from a “deceased” friend sets him up for a new identity, to become not only a different person but start life afresh, to breathe in the sweetness of youth tempered with the wisdom of maturity. He is reborn. But he must shed the guilt of his former life and become Tony Wilson; his old life must remain dead. Arthur’s change is only superficial and he is still imbued with the same rotting essence; he has not come to terms with the root of his inner conflict, he has only treated the symptoms. Baptized in the wine and passion of free love, he cannot shed his old skin and seeks his old life, only to discover that he was not as loved (or missed) as he thought. Arthur’s second life is now measured in seconds as his corpse will be put to good use…for the next consumer.
John Frankenheimer and legendary cinematographer James Wong Howe films with paranoid and frantic close-ups, the camera moving through crowds like an invisible angry spirit, a vengeful ghost haunting its next victim. Howe skews identity with mirrored twisting images and surreal hallucinations. This beautiful cinematography reveals Arthur’s confusion and turmoil and his inability to socialize. His inner voice is now mute. The score heightens the tension towards his narcissistic self-destruction and is hammered with irony: as he finally begins the long journey to enlightenment he realizes there are no third chances. In vino veritas: no matter where you go, there you are.

Final Cut: (B+)

4 comments:

  1. Hey Alex
    Geez Louise, Could you be anymore succinct? Exgesis? Are you like a member of the Prometheus society? I'm blown away and feeling quite stupid. haha. I seriously feel like I should bow when I say, Thanks for following my blog! I don't even think I'm worthy. I'm sure as hell not as smart. I will definitely be visiting The Dark Exegesis, if for no other reason but to build my vocabulary, and you don't write needlessly lengthy posts...like I do. Seriously good stuff. Until next time...Keep those fires stoked, Alex.
    Eternally Yours

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    1. Shoot! I forgot to click on the notify me button! I hate that when I do that! Hence the reply to my own comment. Figures I'd pull a lame move like that on a blog of someone who's got an IQ of 160. There. It's clicked now. I sure don't want to miss anything! Wow, I think I just found a genius.....who likes horror...my day is complete. Good night.

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  2. Hah! Thanks Warden! I'll make sure to visit your sight and we'll share recommendations on films that strike us close to the heart...literally! Here on my horror blog I try to post films that I consider horror but may not fit the conventional definition. I tire of cinephiles looking down on genre films especially horror and science fiction. Kubrick explored both genres and created masterpieces with 2001 and THE SHINING. Though I can slow burn with Antonioni I can also hang with Romero! I just love films. Period!

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    1. Antonioni...aw that just rolls right off the tongue so well I had to do a little research. I'd never heard of him. I'm the one hanging my head now, Alex. Did you know some "Burglars stole his oscar" for career achievement from his apartment in Rome at Christmas time? What a bunch a douches. I seriously want to watch something of his, although, I'm a little leery, since "they" say most of his films are centered around an adulterous man, blah, blah. For lack of a better word, that's icky. Can you suggest a good one that's not? I'm still trying to get out of watching Halloween III. hahaha. And I can't help myself, I think you've started something...I'm so Stoked! Hah. Until next time....Shit, my tag line'll never be the same! Thank you, Alex!!!!

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