AMONG the employees he was the “go to” guy, for almost anything you needed. Not for work related issues, it was for almost anything you were looking for personally. You see, it always seemed as if he knew someone; or if he did not, he knew someone who knew someone who could handle any of our requests. If you needed a new sidewalk, he knew someone in the cement industry; if you were looking for a new car, his cousin’s brother-in-law sold cars. I cannot recall ever hearing him declining someone’s request; this guy always had some type of connection to get any of us help. Now I cannot honestly say every person he recommended did the best job, because many times I heard employees describe the work done as fine or adequate; but with the promise of getting the work at a cheaper price, I guess one could say you get what you pay for as the saying goes. When I needed new windows in my basement I used this employee’s connections. I did not think doing glass block windows would be too hard, but I did have to call them back to fix the caulk job on a couple of windows. HAVING been employed for many years I learned a long time ago it is not what you know but who you know. In my personal life I know a couple of people who have friends in the entertainment industry. They are part of an association that allows them to attend some of the award shows. Since one of my dreams is to attend the Oscar awards telecast, I would have no issue seeking them out. Granted I wish they were friends of mine instead of being friends of a friend. When I have had the good fortune to attend a special screening of a new film, I always try to stay afterwards during the Q & A session with cast members and the director. If there is an opportunity to give any of them my business card, you better believe I will do it; however, I don’t come anywhere near the skills of this dramatic movie’s main character. ALWAYS coming close but never being a party to the big power brokers Norman Oppenheimer, played by Richard Gere (Arbitrage, Primal Fear), begins to realize something is happening when a politician he had met in the past drops his name. This one connection could change Norman’s life. This film festival nominee also starred Michael Sheen (Passengers, Kingdom of Heaven) as Philip Cohen, Lior Ashkenazi (Later Marriage, Footnote) as Eshel, Charlotte Gainsbourg (Melancholia, 3 Hearts) as Alex and Dan Stevens (Beauty and the Beast, Criminal Activities) as Bill Kavish. The script to this story allowed Richard to shine; he was excellent in the role. The movie for the most part was dialog driven. At first I felt the story was going to become a drag; but the more I saw of Richard’s character, the more involved I became. It was surprising to see this film was also tagged a thriller besides being a drama. Maybe in the loosest of terms was it thrilling; for the most part I took it to be a believable telling of those in power. Not having connections to any powerful bigwigs, I enjoyed getting an up close seat to this party.
Everyone handles death in their own way. My grandfather’s death from a heart attack was a shock to the entire family. His death was the first one I experienced. I found it perplexing; because after the cemetery for the next seven days we all had to meet at my oldest aunt’s house, where it seemed like we were having a party. People kept showing up each day, bringing enough food to share with everyone. For my grandmother’s death it was a different experience. She had dementia and was living in a nursing home for several years. By the time she died, it was more of a relief than sadness for most of us. Death in this intensely graphic movie was overpowering. While making love in the next room the couple’s 2 year old son climbed out his bedroom window and fell to his death. Williem Dafoe (Spider-Man, The Hunter) played the grief-stricken father and Charlotte Gainsbourg (21 Grams, Do Not Disturb) the mother. To deal with their overwhelming loss they traveled to their remote cabin in the woods, to work on their devastated marriage. The loss of their son was the catalyst that brought to the surface the couple’s deep fears, making a bad situation worse. One of the reasons I wanted to see this film was due to Charlotte winning the best actress award at the Cannes Film Festival. Granted her intense acting was painfully exquisite as was William’s; but, the subject matter was outrageous to me. With graphic scenes of sex and bloody violence, I found this movie obscenely indulgent on the part of writer and director Lars von Trier (Dogville, Melancholia). When I wasn’t wincing from some of the violent scenes, I could appreciate the other scenes that were breathtakingly artistic. The loss of a child has to be one of the most painful things in a parent’s life. As the viewer, it was painful to watch this film and I felt I lost two hours of my time.
1 3/4 stars — DVD