*Should I even write ‘there will be spoilers’? when we all know how the narrative ended? Bah.*
Is it sacrilegious to be reminded of the hit TV series Homeland while watching Kathryn Bigelow’s latest cinematic offering? While the lead in this movie
(the wonderful Jessica Chastain) is far from being a neurotic, bipolar, wine-glugging, love-struck Claire Danes, it must be said that it was Chastain’s portrayal of Maya, the girl, no, the motherf*#@!~^ who got Osama Bin Laden that makes the film not just coherent, but also and more importantly, intelligent. Minus the histrionics of Danes, thank heavens.
This is not your typical action movie, no. Actually, it’s more of a spy-thriller more than action. It requires more concentration and patience (the movie is about 2 hours and 40 minutes long) than your garden-variety adrenaline-packed Hollywood movie. It requires more thought. Why? Because it will demand something from you in the end.
Understanding, perhaps, of what happened, and how it all happened— the hunt for who used to be the #1 terrorist on the planet.
The movie opens on that fateful day back in 2001. Thankfully, we don’t see images, just audio amidst a black screen. I don’t think anyone can handle seeing the actual footage, heck, not even a dramatization of what happened in New York that September. Audio was enough to remind the audience. And from there, the narrative rolled.
Oh it was a 10 year roll.
While I appreciate the length and breadth devoted to the gathering of intel, showing the lives sacrificed in the process of acquisition, and finally presenting the coup de grâce, the killing of Bin Laden ten years after that attack that killed 3,000 innocent civilians, I must say I had a problem with how the narrative unfolded. I wasn’t too invested in it. I think it’s because I didn’t care much about the characters onscreen. Oh I realize that the characters, particularly Maya (she’s the one that holds everything together, narrative-wise), are all brave, patriotic, smart people, sure. But I didn’t care much about them. There was no investment on my part to care for any of them. It was all too cut and dry presentation of what happened in history. Fine. History is history. But a big chunk of ‘history’ (whatever that word means) is STORY. And stories are fueled by people. They are not just individuals with names. They have lives. I never got to see that. So I ended up not caring.
That was a tough call, I guess. How do you make the audience care about the story when they already know how the story will end? On the one hand you have to realize that you are dealing with documents and facts and whatever else that made the ending possible (again, ten years’ worth of intel), and on the other, you also have to realize that while it is based on actual events, you do have to fictionalize it to make it more cinematic; to make everything logical and dramatic at the same time. How do you walk that line?
While the film is intelligent, yes, I felt it lacked that emotional investment that is essential to allowing the audience to care. I think Bigelow went too intense with the one hand at the expense of the other. The result is a finely-tuned narration of what happened in the course of finding and ultimately killing OBL, yes. But again, by the end of it all, I didn’t care. I mean, I (like everyone on this planet) already knew before the end how it will all end. So by the time the inevitable happened onscreen. . . .that was it? Wham, bam, thank you Ma’am.
Was it the very intention of Ms. Bigelow for us not to care too much? Because truly, it kinda felt like watching the evening news, with the added feature of seeing Chastain’s fabulous performance. It was gripping, oh yes. Remember, we want to know how it all happened. And we saw it onscreen. Then again, so what? I’ve seen more riveting narratives on the National Geographic channel.
I also didn’t like the choppiness of the narrative. It wasn’t seamless at all. I guess that contributed to me vacillating with my already minimal emotional investment with the film.
Good effort all around. Just wasn’t totally impressed by it.
I suppose this is the mandatory looking-back at the previous year blog entry.
The thing is, 2012 had been a quiet year for me. Yes, with all its bells and whistles, its scares and surprises, the fireworks and the duds, the year that was was all about silence.
To start with, I opened 2012 under Sabbatical leave from my work. That means I was off the hook from a lot of responsibilities (huzzah!), from a lot of decision-making moments (double huzzah!), and from zzzzzz inducing meetings (huzzah to infinity!). That did not mean I had nothing to do, oh no. I had to finish doing this for the scheduled May conference. Interestingly, my worries December of 2011 were all for naught. Despite the delaying tactic in writing, I persevered, and it was done. Done like a boss, indeed.
Roughly this day last year, I posted my forecast for 2012. What I find amusing now was this:
You’ll feel like you’ve come home to your true self. Whether you’re an artist, healer or closet mystic, you’ll have no choice but to move toward fulfilling the deeper longings of your soul. No longer can you deny how truly empathic and sensitive you are. It’s time to channel those special qualities into proper use!
While 2012 indeed felt like “coming home to my true self”, especially that part about being empathic (oh yes, raised to the nth power) and sensitive, I’m not entirely sure if I was able to channel those qualities into proper use. The thing was, I have realized the whole of last year how much I have an aversion to drama. I detest any kind of disturbance and distraction. I am perfectly content with my life and I really do not need any kind of disruption. That’s why it was quite easy for me to drop certain people from my list of trusted friends (it’s not the quantity but the quality of the friendship, I always say) this past year.
I have also realized that because I’m not fond of drama and all its relations, I have forced myself (quite easily, I might add) to go into semi solitude the previous year. I practically barricaded myself inside the guest room 24/7 (thank heavens the fridge is but 3 steps away from the door). There were days when I would only come out for meal times, hardly talking to anybody. There were many days when I would utter only 2 (yes, I was so bored initially I counted the words), at most 3 words a day, mostly to the maid. What can I say? The empath in me got tired of everything. I didn’t like how most people and a good number of events were gravely upsetting me and my sense of balance. Can you say “Frankie, smash!”? I wanted to delete so many people from my life at one point. I didn’t want to be sucked into their whirlpool of dramatics. Not that everything was totally in my control, though. The almost-break-in at our home that happened January of last year was too much for me, physically, emotionally, and psychologically. It affected my sleeping pattern, my diet, and many other things along the way. I guess this only strengthened my will to stay away from people, and to be eternally vigilant. Trust no one, Agent Mulder famously said. I live and breathe it.
Don’t get me wrong. It was not a depressing year; far from it. For somebody who loves solitude, it was peaceful and very welcoming for me. I desired that time out. I needed that time out. And I enjoyed every bit of that time out.
It was home.
I needed it to keep my sanity intact. I needed it so that I could look at my life with a certain perspective and to be thankful for all the blessings that came my way. I needed that time out so I could freely interpret what the universe was telling me in the form of signs that were strategically planted every bit of the way. I wanted it because I know how much I enjoy my own company. Whether it be watching a movie all by myself (something I’ve been doing since I was eighteen), or getting a massage, or dining out, I find pleasure in my solitude. It was for the love of myself, yes.
And heaven knows how much I love myself.
Did I love myself to the point of selfishness?
I guess you all know by now how much I value my time and my space. I didn’t give a lot of both to anyone last year. While I did spend a fabulous three weeks with Buttercup and Bubbles May of last year, my nose knew that that was the highlight of 2012. I mean, gosh, how do you even top that? And I guess both of my witch friends got a dose of how much I guard my me time/space. They suffered it ;P
What I do love about both Gissy and Abbey is that they don’t mind that about me. Like my family, I trust that they understand. They know that my love for solitude is what makes Frankie, well, Frankie. They don’t care. I can keep my mouth shut for hours (and as I’ve proven this previous year, even days and weeks and months) and it wouldn’t bother them. The know that nothing is wrong. That everything, in fact, is as it should be. That Frankie is just being Frankie.
Was 2012 a life-changing year for me? Hardly. But the ch-ch-changes were there, however subtle. I think I am too old to have capital, outward changes (save for my renewed fixation to have the perfect set of fangs, that is) . If at all, the changes were all internal; very intimate and barely noticeable. They happened, oh yes, but only for my attention and scrutiny.
And that was enough.
In all, 2012 had been a quiet year for me. Truly, a year of rest and being at peace. With all the fun things and the extremely fun things that happened all year, I am truly grateful. Grateful, not so much for the fun and exciting adventures, or for the wonderful blessings that were thrown my way, but for the opportunity to appreciate all of it. It was in solitude, in my quiet, that I learned to understand the full worth of it all.
And to you, our dear readers, thank you for sticking with us Fates, with me especially ( I think I’m the most loquacious of the three; an irony given my penchant for silence, imagine that ;P) . Many of my entries were nonsensical to you, I guess. But they were not to me. Fine, some of it were absolutely ridiculous, even to me 🙂 . Here’s to more sensible and not so sensible musings this 2013. We may not have anything exciting planned this year, but who knows, eh? And in the “who knows?” lies the surprise.