The Oxford dictionary definitions of a hero are - “1) a person, typically a man, who is admired for their courage or outstanding achievements- a person of superhuman qualities. 2) the chief male character in a book, play, or film.”
Now three weeks ago I had a completely brilliant weekend, filled with heroes! However, I was too lazy or busy to write a post on it. Until now… *insert loud triumphant classical music*
1) About A Boy- this follows the second definition more or less. I thought this was Hugh Grant’s best performance. He generally plays the charming elusive bachelor, but he perfected that image in this film. In addition, it is Nicholas Hoult’s first film…and he is sooo adorable. He is the other hero in the story. Hugh’s and Nicholas’s onscreen chemistry makes this story of a lonely man and a lonely boy and their relationship an absolute pleasure to watch. Hugh’s character Will thinks of himself as an island, until he meets Nicholas’s character Marcus. Marcus, with his suicidal hippie mum, played superbly by Toni Collette, finds in Will the missing father figure he needs in his life. With hilarious incidents that follow- like Will’s and Marcus’s crushes, a profane hip-hop CD, and Roberta Flack’s Killing Me Softly, their relationship deepens as each of our heroes find happiness and contentment in their lives. Their co-narration too is quite funny and enjoyable. They are both heroes in each other’s eyes and hence I consider this to be a hero flick. This is a classic example of sheer British comedy brilliance and I would recommend it to anyone with a sense of humour or a Hugh Grant/Nicholas Hoult lover. (I happen to be all of them)
2) The Shawshank Redemption- First! This film has the highest ratings in IMDB. Why? Because it is one of the best films ever made, and one of the best I have ever seen. It tells the amazing story of a man, Andrew "Andy" Dufresne, played by Tim Robbins, who is sent to Shawshank prison for the alleged murder of his cheating wife and her lover. There he meets Morgan Freeman’s character Ellis Boyd "Red" Redding along with other inmates. He also meets the diabolical and bigoted Warden Samuel Norton, played by Bob Gunton, who believed in two things: discipline and the Bible. Andy is no ordinary inmate, as Red, who is also the narrator, understands first hand. He was an educated banker and because of his persuasiveness and accounting abilities, he is able to rise in the prison. He does all kinds of things in the prison and Red, who is his right-hand man and also the supplier of all things needed inside the prison helps him always. Andy spends nearly two decades in the Shawshank prison after which he does something that no one expects and gets brilliantly away with it. I really don’t want to tell what happens in this film, as it HAS to be watched. It is based on a book by Stephen King but I can’t imagine it being any better than the film. Tim Robbins’ acting is so awe-inspiring. He is one of the best heroes ever portrayed in the silver screen. He is brilliant and idealistic and such a complete leader and role model. He makes one want to be like him, or be friends with him. Morgan Freeman is a good sidekick too. I get such happiness out of films like these because they are masterpieces. They teach and inspire and give us hope and make life brilliant. MUST WATCH!
3) Ironman 2- Again First definition but especially focussing on the ‘a person of superhuman qualities’ part. Ironman is not only a hero, but a superhero and a brilliantly funny, careless, reckless and narcissistic one at that. But it works. Why? Because Robert Downey Jr. is Ironman. Robert Downey Jr. is the coolest actor to ever walk on this planet. Ironman would be nothing without him. And the world would be nothing without Ironman. It is the best action super hero movie franchise that has ever come out. I love Batman etc. but the level of Awesome that exudes from every shot…I do not have words. Plus the remaining cast- Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle, Mickey Rourke, Sam Rockwell, Scarlett Johansson, Samuel L. Jackson and John Favreau is GENIUS!!! The action, the dialogues, the effects, the Ironman suits and drones makes this film an action gem and I don’t want to give the synopsis because everyone must have watched it already. If one hasn’t, he or she must because it is THE CINEMATIC EXPERIENCE! Blogs cannot describe it.
4) One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest- it is sort of both the definitions, except the fact that he is absolutely mental. And if any actor can play a mental hero, it is the seraphic master of acting Jack Nicholson. If you don’t believe this description, just watch the one-minute long shot in the film which just focuses on his face. Emotions and expressions ooze out of every little square millimetre of his face. It’s breathtaking to watch. And the film is just so good. It is about a man Randle P. Murphy who is sent to a mental institution after numerous criminal offences to be examined. There he meets all the other inmates, especially Chief who was the narrator in the book. Also, he meets his adversary, the chief nurse Ratched, played by Louise Fletcher. He is loud and different and clever, she is calm and tyrannical and clever too. He wants to make other inmates feel good about themselves, while she undermines and controls everyone with perfected subtlety, except Murphy sees through it. Their clash of wits and trying to suppress each other’s authoritative influence is what the film is mostly about- with all the insanity around it. It has an excellent ending. I love the fact on how the hero and the villain have the characteristics of each other- McMurphy is a rebellious criminal and Ratched is an excellent nurse. The film is among the only three films to have won the Big Five at the Oscars- Best Film, Best Director for Milos Forman, Best Actor for Nicholson, Best Actress for Fletcher and Best Screenplay for Laurence Hauben, Bo Goldman. Again a Must Watch!
So with this my hero weekend ended. I also watched Schindler’s List a day later. I think I’ll write a review about it sometime later. The reason why I did not include it in this list is that even though Oskar Schindler is a hero, a real-life one no less and Liam Neeson is spectacular, I was in love with Ralph Fiennes in this film. And he played the evil, apathetic, cruel, murderous Nazi Amon Goth- not a hero, but a complete villain. But his performance, which is considered to be one of the best ever, just like Nicholson’s, was so chillingly good that I cannot help but hero-worship him. And also Ralph Fiennes’ face was made to be seen in black and white, it is just that gorgeous! This too is a must watch film.