This is possibly the single most British movie I’ve ever seen.
Louis Mazzini (the guy holding the axe) is the son of a (female) British aristocrat and an Italian opera singer. He grows up poor since his mother’s family has disowned her; and when she dies, they won’t let him bury her in the family plot. Louis vows to get his revenge by murdering the eight family members (all played by Alec Guinness!) who stand between him and the dukedom. I don’t want to spoil the ending, but if you’ve ever seen any movies where the good guy is also the killer, you can probably guess what eventually happens to our Louis. This movie is totally worth seeing just for the dry English humor and for Alec Guinness’s virtuosic turn as eight different members of the D’Ascoyne family. Strange yet hilarious.
Whew, I’ve got some catching up to do! Sorry for my delinquency, ya’ll. With the exception of this one, I might keep the next few posts brief in the interest of getting caught up.
One of the things I appreciated about The Wire as a whole and particularly the last season was the way everything snowballed. As the show goes on, the area of our interest as viewers expands outward from one drug clan and the cops who are chasing them to include politicians, students, teachers, dock workers, clergymen, the Russian mafia, and the staff of the Baltimore Sun. To take this everything-but-the-kitchen-sink approach without losing a single thread of the massively intertwined plot makes The Wire a magnificent work of art.
I also appreciated the honesty that went into fleshing out each character and delineating their arcs over the course of five seasons. I’ve never felt that art needed to be “like real life” in order to be good, at least not in the sense that most people mean. But I did find it refreshing that the writers of The Wire resisted the temptation to settle for the mega-happy ending and instead stayed true to the characters themselves and to what w0uld probably happen to such characters in a world very much like ours.