February 22, 2015

Ida (2013)

Oh, Poland. It's such a forgotten country. Besides while eating Polish sausage, I don't think the average person gives a lot of thought to Poland. Fairly or not, it tends to get lumped it with the culture and history of Russia. (Much like I'm sure plenty of people assume Central American culture is the same as Mexico's and southeastern Asia's is the same as China's.)

Unfortunately, this movie doesn't really help with that notion, as it focuses on probably the only point of Polish history most non-Polish people can name: WWII. Sigh. Another WWII movie. It's hard to be snarky about movies that involve the Holocaust and Nazis because, you know, but I'll try.

  • The use of black and white almost seemed like overkill. It was a depressing subject in a depressing setting with depressing people. The black and white just sent it over the edge into a movie you almost don't want to watch, which is too bad because the movie is actually pretty good. I'm not sure it would have worked in color, but man, it's just so depressing!
  • The main girl, despite repeated references to her "good looks," is not attractive. She's not horrible, but if you're going to make a big deal about someone being a beauty, please make sure they actually are. She was more like a less cute version of Claire Danes. And Claire Danes is no beauty.
  • Her character also bothered me. For one thing, she did that whole "meaningful silent" thing where I suppose we're supposed to admire her resilience or something, but whenever characters are mostly silent, I wonder if they're actually just bad actors. Her character was even more uninteresting when compared to the aunt, which was brilliantly acted by a woman who bore more than a passing resemblance to Sigourney Weaver.
  • The plot leaves some questions. Questions you could probably infer the answers to, but in a movie that revolves around a quest to find the truth, I'd like to actually hear that truth. All of it. If it were me, searching for the truth about my heritage and such, you'd better believe I wouldn't let anyone walk away from me without a detailed explanation of exactly what happened and why. Maybe that makes for a less delicate movie, but certainly would have made me feel better about it.
  • There were some more superficial questions related to the aunt's past and the sudden reappearance of certain characters, but if the movie wasn't going to directly address the big stuff, it certainly wasn't going to explain how the saxophone guy tracked down a funeral of someone whose name he didn't know.

Final word: It managed to come up with a new spin on WWII tragedy, which in and of itself is a triumph. 

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