Tim Brayton

Tim Brayton

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UW-Madison PhD student, and film critic at AlternateEnding.com

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  • Ran

    Ran

    ★★★★★

    Likely the most powerfully hopeless film I have ever seen. Like King Lear, which it lovingly transposes with not all that many changes, it's an unrelentingly bleak story of what happens when monstrous pride mixes with greed for power, but it goes even farther: unlike Lear, Ran has no innocents to speak of, and it transforms the lines "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods / They kill us for their sport" from one moment near the…

  • Kagemusha

    Kagemusha

    ★★★★½

    "It's not as good as Ran, though" clearly isn't a tenable criticism, since it describes all but, what, maybe a couple dozen movies in history. But this the only movie that's, shall we say, specifically not as good as Ran, through absolutely no fault of my own. And I find that if I try with all my might, I can manage to avoid holding that against what is, on its merits, one of the greatest director's finest period dramas, a…

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  • Judas and the Black Messiah

    Judas and the Black Messiah

    ★★★

    In retrospect, of course Warner Bros. wasn't going to put out a movie that genuinely grappled with Fred Hampton's revolutionary politics, and it's on me that I was idiot enough to wonder if they might. Instead, despite a couple quotes from Marxist literature, and one appearance each by the words "socialism" (at the start) and "proletariat" (at the end; also, I might have missed a "proletariat" in there, I wasn't really thinking to count it), this mostly turns Hampton into…

  • Detainment

    Detainment

    ½

    So first, I can't imagine how damn stupid you'd have to be to think you could get away with telling this story this way without getting life rights from the survivors, or heavily anonymising the details, or ideally both.

    Let's say you've decided not to care about any of that. That still leaves the question of what reason there is to tell this story. What is the viewer supposed to get from this? Is it just to grind our faces…