I saw the trailer for Die Hard 4.0 this evening, while waiting to watch Noise (which was excellent, and more of that anon).
The stunts highlighted are delightfully over the top, and Bruce Willis looks older but harder and meaner, which is perfect. Unless the film gets really really bad reviews from people who liked the first three (OK, liked the first two at least) I will be going to see this, hoping that the interval between the third and fourth films is down to Willis saying over and over again “this script is crap, bring me something less embarrassing and then maybe I’ll think about it”. One can hope, right?
Anyway, I was reminded that the fabulous Kung Fu Monkey had this video-link on his blog a few weeks ago. This captures exactly why I will be going to see 4.0 (despite the fact that numbering it like that is pretentious faux-geekery that should put the film execs responsible next in line to the marketing department of the Sirius Robotics Corporation).
Noise could not be less like the Die Hard oeuvre. It’s about a cop, but that’s where any similarities end. The central character of Noise is a uniformed constable, Graham McGahan, dealing with escalating tinnitus while a grisly murder case unfolds around him. He is not central to the investigation, he is merely a minor cog in the wheel of justice while the detectives and higher ranks chase the solution.
The writing of the characters is superb: every single person is utterly believable as a real person with a life before and after the moments they are shown on screen. Relationships especially, the intimate, the colleagues and the public, are beautifully delineated and draw you in.
Sound is central to the plot, and the low-key but beautifully judged cinematography allows the superlative sound engineering to be the locus of attention. The pace moves slowly on the whole, as our main character watches the headline drama unfold from off in the wings, but every now and then we are moved to the centre of the murder investigation, watching the reactions of the detectives and a survivor as events move much more quickly as they search for clues to the murderer.
The day to day humourous events offer some crackers of one-liners, but they’re not polished sitcom zingers or Willisian action-hero smuggery, they’re just Aussie larrikin smartarsery that is not sentimentalised as if it’s from a bygone era. A pleasant change and very nicely done.
The women are just people, not pieces of tits and arse despite their many attractive qualities, and the survivor Lavinia Smart is especially engaging as she copes with her trauma and fears with great strength and determination. None of the women are exceptional superwomen, but none of them are wilting flowers either. Another character is mentally abnormal, and he is not dealt with as a stereotype either, but as a person with strong interests and a drive for socialisation that makes him vulnerable but interesting.
The ending came abruptly, and key plotlines are left unresolved, thus my response as the black screen came up and then the credits was an explosive yet appreciative “Bastards!” which got mostly affirmative murmurs and titters from the rest of the audience in the small “arthouse” cinema at the multiplex. I really wanted to know more about what happened to these characters, and at one level I hated not having everything tied up with a bow on it like I know the next Die Hard instalment will end. But now, several hours later, I’m glad that they left it hanging. It means I’m still thinking about what might have happened.
Noise is only in limited release in Australian cinemas. Go and see it while you can. (David and Margaret agree with me, too.)
Categories: arts & entertainment