E is for The Elephant Man (1980)
The Elephant Man tells the true story of John Merrick, a severely deformed man who was paraded as a circus freak in turn-of-the-century England. David Lynch’s follow-up to his singular debut Eraserhead
has an authentic feel for the time while also evoking the classic horror of Jacques Tourneur’s Night of the Demon
with atmospheric black and white imagery supplied by veteran cameraman Freddie Francis.
The heavy-weight cast includes John Gielgud, Wendy Hiller and Anne Bancroft, but at the heart of the film is an unrecognisable John Hurt as Merrick and Anthony Hopkins as the doctor who tries to help him.
So much of the film is about how others react to the Elephant Man: in horror, fear, pity, confusion. Hopkin’s beautifully nuanced performance is full of conflict, love, and gentleness. He shows that true acting is all about reacting in what could be his greatest achievement.
This is a monster movie flipped on it’s head. Lynch begins by building the sense of dread around this freakish man and then shifts to take his side against the far more horrific humanity that surrounds him.
The film unfolds with a quiet power and bit by bit it will break your heart.
E IS FOR 8 MILE (2002)
8 Mile is an autobiographical movie directed by Curtis Hanson (Chasing Mavericks) about a young white wannabe rapper Jimmy ‘B-Rabbit’ Smith (Eminem) who tries to defy the boundaries of class and race and break into the rap industry.
The story shows how Eminem, who lives in a trailer with his mother (Kim Basinger) and younger sister, struggles to survive and how he lives only to rise above his circumstances to make it as a successful white rapper.
With the urban masses at the local rap battles having booed him off stage once already, contending that rap is a black man’s world, Eminem shows that if at first you don’t succeed, try again!
A little piece of trivia that I learnt after watching the film…..The sheet of paper that Jimmy writes on the bus is the real sheet that Eminem wrote “Lose Yourself” on. The sheet of paper sold for $10,000 on an eBay auction.
R.I.P. BRITTANY MURPHY
E is for End of Watch (2012)
Really original take on a cop movie – Michael Pena plays the role of the guy you expect to find in the force in south central LA – Hispanic, married with kids – yet his partner (Jake Gyllenhaal) doesn’t quite fit in. A little aloof and resented by some of his colleagues, he forms an unlikely friendship with his partner.
What’s really original with this movie is it doesn’t just centre on the violence and carnage of this notorious district of LA – it is a very human tale of the hopes and aspirations of two regular guys set against the backdrop of a very dangerous workplace.
Well worth the watch – no pun intended!