Elle (2016): It. Was. Just. Haunting.

Review: ‘Haunting’ mungkin kata paling positif untuk mendeskripsikan Elle; sementara ‘disturbing’ paling negatif. Setidaknya, dua kesan itulah yang ingin dihadirkan Paul Verhoeven dalam comebacknya; ia menolak membiarkan penontonnya merasa tenang ketika hanyut dalam hidup seorang wanita tangguh berwujud Isabelle Huppert.

Elle dibuka dengan sebuah scene grotesk, kita dipaksa menyaksikan tatapan kosong seekor kucing yang menyaksikan majikannya diperkosa dengan brutal oleh sosok misterius bertopeng ski. Scene itu sendiri tanpa tedeng aling-aling dan mencapai tahap visceral. Namun, yang lebih mengenaskan adalah perilaku sang korban pasca kejadian itu. Tak terlihat ada kejijikan; taka da penyesalan; namun ia juga tak terlihat menikmatinya. Semuanya dibiarkan ambigu. Continue reading “Elle (2016): It. Was. Just. Haunting.”

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La Tête Haute / Standing Tall (2015): Rantai hukum untuk si l’enfant terrible

Review: La Tête Haute a.k.a. Standing Tall – yang mendapat 8 nominasi César Awards dan memenangkan 2 d antaranya – adalah sebuah perjalanan panjang dan melelahkan di balik proses hukum untuk kasus juvenile delinquency atau kenakalan remaja. Perjalanan panjang tersebut direfleksikan dalam kehidupan sang l’enfant terrible sekaligus orang-orang terdekatnya di tengah proses hukum yang berliku. Proses demi proses digambarkan dengan candid sampai berujung di final scene-nya yang ambigu.

‘Vokal’ dan ‘merisaukan’ mungkin dua kata paling tepat untuk menggambarkan Standing Tall. Dari scene pertama saja, film ini sudah tampil vokal kala menampilkan karakter-karakter utamanya dalam sebuah adegan yang frustrating saat Séverine (Sara Forestier) meninggalkan putra tertuanya, Malony (nantinya diperankan Rod Paradot), dalam asuhan jaksa Florence Blaque (Catherine Deneuve). Kesembronoan dan lepas tanggung jawabnya sang ibu itulah pusat drama sebab-akibat ini. Continue reading “La Tête Haute / Standing Tall (2015): Rantai hukum untuk si l’enfant terrible”

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): Upbeat, uplifting, and upgoing reminiscent of Up

ReviewHunt for the Wilderpeople yang ditelorkan oleh Taika Waititi, sutradara film mockumentary NZ, What We Do in the Shadows, adalah komedi deadpan yang hilarious dan super menyenangkan, sekaligus juga cerdas dan hangat. Sembari menembus pedalaman Selandia Baru, film ini sukses menjembatani elemen road movie, buddy movie dan generation-gap movie.

Wilderpeople mungkin bukan kisah yang seutuhnya orisinil, tapi ia mampu membuktikan bahwa sebuah kisah been-there-done-that pun tetap bisa tampil optimal jika dikerjakan dengan pendekatan yang tepat. Kisah cross-country New Zealand ini bermula ketika Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), seorang anak yatim piatu yang bandel, diantarkan oleh petugas Child Care, Paula (Rachel House), ke sebuah farmhouse milik orang tua asuh baru Ricky, Bella (Rima Te Wiata) dan Hec (Sam Neill dari Jurassic Park). Awalnya semuanya tak berjalan lancar bagi Ricky, namun pelan-pelan ia mampu settle in dengan keluarga barunya, terutama dengan auntie Bella, yang penyayang dan memahami “free spirit” Ricky. Itu baru Chapter 1.

Sh*t just got real di akhir Chapter 1 memaksa Ricky mengungsi sendirian dan memutuskan untuk hidup di hutan bersama anjingnya, Tupac. Tak disangka, Hec si pemarah sukses menemukannya; namun, karena suatu hal dan lainnya, keduanya tak bisa lagi kembali ke kehidupan normal. Sementara itu, sebuah kesalah pahaman yang bodoh menyebabkan kepanikan masal berujung pada pencarian orang terbesar di NZ seperti yang tertera di judul film ini. Continue reading “Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016): Upbeat, uplifting, and upgoing reminiscent of Up”

Elle (2016) – BALINALE Review

Review: Haunting is the best word to describe Elle; while disturbing is the worst. At least, that’s what director Paul Verhoeven brings in his comeback; he refuses to let audience be in peace while delving into a life of an unbreakable woman, in form of Isabelle Huppert.

Elle grotesquely opens with a very disturbing scene, as we witness a cat silently witnessing its owner gets brutally raped by a stranger in ski mask. The scene itself is unapologetic and, to some extent, visceral. Yet, what disturbs worst from the scene is what the woman does in aftermath. There’s no feeling of disgust, not remorse, not an agony, not even a pleasure. It’s left ambiguous. Continue reading “Elle (2016) – BALINALE Review”

La Tête Haute / Standing Tall (2015) – BALINALE Review

Review: La Tête Haute a.k.a. Standing Tall is an overlong and sometimes frustrating journey of juvenile delinquency care in French reflected in lives of l’enfant terrible and people around him. It’s a long and winding road of candid law system – process to process until it finally settles in an ambiguous but reflective final scene. It’s a poignant drama which received 8 nominations at the 41st César Awards and won two.

‘Blatant’ and ‘unsettling’ might be the best vocabulary to fast-describe Standing Tall, aside from ‘hot-headed’. Standing Tall blatantly introduces the core character in a very distressing scene, where frustrated Séverine (Sara Forestier) irresponsibly leaves her confused, eldest toddler son, Malony (later portrayed by Rod Paradot), to the care of judge Florence Blaque (Catherine Deneuve). That irresponsibility is the epicenter of cause-and-effect drama as a recurring theme. Continue reading “La Tête Haute / Standing Tall (2015) – BALINALE Review”

Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) – BALINALE Review

As much as it is hilarious and exhilarating, Hunt for the Wilderpeople is a clever, deadpan delight coming straight from the mind of Taika Waititi, helmer of last year’s vampire mockumentary darling, What We Do in the Shadows.  It has the heart and all the brains as it divides the wilderness of New Zealand finding a bridge between road movie, buddy movie, and generation-gap movie that works.

Wilderpeople might not be a completely original story, but it shows how a retelling of a been-there-done-that story could be astounding if done properly. The NZ odyssey starts off when a fat, free-spirited orphan, Ricky Baker (Julian Dennison), is brought by his office, Paula (Rachel House), into a farmhouse where his new foster-parents – Bella (Rima Te Wiata) and Hec (Jurassic Park’s Sam Neill) – live. While cramped with tension and rebels in the beginning, Ricky takes his time to finally settle in with his new family, especially auntie Bella, whose boldness and quirky caring win him over. And that was just Chapter One.

Sh*t just got real. This leads to Ricky ends up running into the deep forest, planning to live in the wilderness with his best-birthday-gift dog, Tupac. Cranky Hec finds him, but something hinders them from returning to society. Thing is, there has been a ridiculous misunderstanding embarks from the spot Ricky and Heck left, leading into a nationwide manhunt hence the title. Continue reading “Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016) – BALINALE Review”