Author Topic: Phoenix  (Read 10738 times)

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jenkins

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #15 on: September 08, 2015, 12:45:04 AM »
0
it's crushing at the box office fwiw. it's been on la's west side for four or more weeks and that keeps driving me crazy (because i want it in hollywood, preferably sundance for $6 tuesdays)

Phoenix (2015)   IFC   $2,048,182
"I must whisper it to you—not because Im ashamed but because it is so Dear to me that I must keep it close to me by whispering—"

pete

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #16 on: October 18, 2015, 02:49:34 AM »
+1
Thank you guys for really talking this one up. I spent the day by myself and went to this at the end of the night, something I haven't done since forever. Every little detail inspires. I'm also glad that this is a longer thread than so many of the so called hot movies out there right now. God bless this forum.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

pete

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #17 on: November 19, 2015, 08:05:16 PM »
+1
just saw it again. love it so much.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

wilder

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #18 on: November 30, 2015, 04:28:16 PM »
+3
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wilder

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #19 on: December 09, 2015, 04:29:54 AM »
+1
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©brad

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #20 on: January 02, 2016, 10:37:23 PM »
+2
I mean you guys said this was good and stuff and I rarely if ever disagree with a Pete reco so I watched it yesterday and FUUUUUUUUUUUUUUCK it's really freakin good. Maybe my second favorite of the year behind Mad Max. This was such a welcomed and needed respite from Oscar-baity movies that try way too hard. What an elegant, economical slow-burn of a movie. So confident and fully realized. Nina Hoss deserves to be nominated for all the things.

God that ending.













wilder

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #21 on: January 15, 2016, 05:39:23 PM »
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Alexandro

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #22 on: April 07, 2016, 10:32:32 AM »
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SPOILERS

So I was between Phoenix and Son of Saul yesterday and the raves around here convinced me to go with Phoenix. And I guess I lack faith because I couldn't buy for a second the premise of this film.

The moment Johnny says to her "you gotta pretend to be my wife" I felt a huge letdown and could never recover from it. I was like "this is what it's going to be about?" and sure enough it was. Sorry but even in a complete fantasy like this you gotta set some standards. The film asks you to believe that she sounds the same, walks the same, looks kind of the same, smells the same, all the same and this guy, HIS HUSBAND, never even doubts about anything? Are you guys married? You learn to recognize the breathing of your spouse, dudes.

And she spends half of the movie asking questions that wouldn't help at all in her supposed quest for truth: "did you use to take walks?", "how did you meet"?. Yeah I get it, she's enjoying it because she is feeling herself again after the horrors of war...a very convoluted and contrived explanation for everything that happens.

I also kept waiting for all the twist and turns, and "Hitchcock" atmosphere and master cinematic touches. There are not that many twists. the only twist you have to keep accepting is that johnny is such a dumb, money obsessed, guilt ridden guy he can't conceive the idea that the woman in front of him is his wife, despite the fact she becomes more and more transparent about it as the film goes on. The only "hitchcock" stuff is the tired Vertigo reference of changing hair color and the guy obsessively giving her instructions on how to behave. I just didn't find the style as enjoyable to let myself go with the flow of the implausible premise.

It all feels way too calculated to deliver that ending. A nice touch, but not enough to imprint the whole film with meaning. It elicits a "moving" response in the audience, but it feels fake.

pete

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #23 on: April 27, 2016, 01:23:30 AM »
+2
It feels like you're rejecting the premise of the film, which is hard to debate. most films will ask the audience to accept one thing as true, then operates on that assumption. Phoenix is no exception, but it unfolds in way, like a Hitchcock film, in which the premise might not unfold until the second act. I also know some folks here and there who, like you, can't accept the premise - it just seems like you're trying to hang other flaws onto your inability to accept the premise, but they don't really exist beyond the context of the premise. You've even admitted to understanding the characters' motivations - how each is blinded by the trauma/ guilt of surviving the war - but then you write them off as contrived. I dunno - just because you can say you reject the premise in six or seven ways does not mean there are six or seven things, or even one thing wrong with the film.
“Tragedy is a close-up; comedy, a long shot.”
- Buster Keaton

jenkins

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #24 on: April 27, 2016, 02:24:28 AM »
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it's not what's wrong with the film it's what's wrong with us watching it, yes, just as someone liking the movie is as important as the fact that someone likes the movie. liking this movie creates a better conversation but i don't believe for one second that it makes anyone a better person. i'm with Alexandro, 100% actually. if the movie doesn't puncture your guts and spread into your blood it doesn't.
"I must whisper it to you—not because Im ashamed but because it is so Dear to me that I must keep it close to me by whispering—"

Alexandro

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #25 on: April 28, 2016, 08:47:07 AM »
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It feels like you're rejecting the premise of the film, which is hard to debate. most films will ask the audience to accept one thing as true, then operates on that assumption. Phoenix is no exception, but it unfolds in way, like a Hitchcock film, in which the premise might not unfold until the second act. I also know some folks here and there who, like you, can't accept the premise - it just seems like you're trying to hang other flaws onto your inability to accept the premise, but they don't really exist beyond the context of the premise. You've even admitted to understanding the characters' motivations - how each is blinded by the trauma/ guilt of surviving the war - but then you write them off as contrived. I dunno - just because you can say you reject the premise in six or seven ways does not mean there are six or seven things, or even one thing wrong with the film.

of course if the premise doesn't work, a lot of other things won't. just because I can see the mechanics of a character's behavior doesn't mean I think the film pulled them off convincingly. even if it's contrived it could work, but the film pretty much asks you to take a lot of questionable stuff at face value. I had to go "mmmmm ok" every ten minutes when something else that I couldn't totally buy happened.

seth

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #26 on: May 04, 2016, 06:56:56 PM »
+3
Did Christian Petzold leave a MAJOR FLAW in this film?

My wife & I loved this movie, totally had us hooked from beginning.
The movie has at least one very confusing 'doesn't-make-sense' flaw, about which I'd love to question director Christian Petzold...but I can't access him. So if anyone reading this has the answer, love to hear from you.

The whole plot is based around concentration-camp survivor Nelly and her estranged husband Johnny, who doesn't recognize her (due to facial reconstruction) when she returns to Berlin. Yes, that's already a big stretch. All she'd have to do is mention to him, any 5 things only the real Nelly would know, and he'd know it was her, face change or not. But she plays along with his supposed lack of recognition, partly to see if he betrayed her to the Nazis, partly to see if she can rekindle their marriage, and, in the process, some of her sense of identity.

The subplot is that he sees an opportunity to "train" this similar-but-not-really Nelly to play her and then co-opt her war inheritance. But the key piece of evidence that Nelly's friend leaves behind to prove he betrayed her is his writ of divorce, executed the day she was arrested and sent to the camps.

WAIT! If he legally divorced her, he is no longer married or related to her in any way...meaning he has absolutely no claim to any portion of her inheritance. Even though she doesn't know about the divorce till the end, he knows he divorced her, all along. He knows this makes her money unavailable to him, all along. So why does he ever bother to train her and cook up this elaborate ruse, that, if she succeeds, could only result in her getting a big inheritance and him getting nothing, nada?!

Unless he's planning to somehow steal it from her bank account, or at gunpoint, after she receives it, he knows they are divorced and he has nothing coming to him. So, recognizing her or not, aside, he would never bother to work on this one minute with her.

The are several other "oh, come ON!" junctures in this film, but that one was the most glaring, and pretty much ruins the line of reasoning of the whole plot. Anybody clearly see something I'm not "recognizing?"

wilder

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #27 on: May 04, 2016, 07:15:43 PM »
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I follow your logic and yeah admittedly that does seem like a pretty gaping plot hole.

But at the same time, it serves the emotion of the story, which as samsong put, is so ingeniously conceived, that I can forgive this. The movie already takes place in a world of artifice. Petzold himself said that audiences who can't buy into the heightened premise are people who "don't like movies", or don't like to suspend disbelief for some greater reward. This is a bit defensive and I can't write off anyone who the movie didn't work for, but at the end of the day I think the end that the plot is a means to is so great that overlooking logical flaws in a movie like this is worth it. It's a bit like cutting for performance instead of perfect continuity. Would I rather have perfect continuity between shots instead of the greatest possible performance? No. Would I rather have an airtight, completely logically progressing plot in lieu of a setup that engenders sky-high emotions? Definitely not.

I also think that the realistic style betrays the fact that the movie is a melodrama. The presentation creates expectations of naturalistic consequences, but the movie isn't that, which is part of what makes it so interesting. How often do we see melodrama play out in such a gritty, so realistically realized world? Tonally, it's something new.

seth

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #28 on: May 04, 2016, 07:57:36 PM »
+2
Would I rather have perfect continuity between shots instead of the greatest possible performance? No. Would I rather have an airtight, completely logically progressing plot in lieu of a setup that engenders sky-high emotions? Definitely not.

C'mon Wilder, no reason you can't have both...as so many of the films mentioned in this forum have managed to achieve.

But I agree the performances and tense emotions set up by Petzold, the actors, et al, were absolutely riveting. As I said, my wife & I LOVED the film, and I gave it a 5-star review on Netflix, in spite of the gaping plot hole.

Really, one wonders why Petzold and/or the screenwriters ever entered the whole divorce thing in the first place.
First off, it doesn't offer conclusive proof Johnny betrayed her to the Nazis. He divorced her the day she was arrested. He could have done that simply because he felt certain she would die & he'd never see her again, so end the marriage and be done with it, be free for the future.

Secondly, any intelligent screenwriters could have come up with at least a dozen other forms of proof or pieces of paper they could have Nelly come upon, that proved he betrayed her, other than something that so completely rules out him being a beneficiary, like divorce papers. Think, guys!

Lastly, by the time they introduced "divorce" as the 'big reveal,' it just doesn't compute and most watchers will go, "WTF?" Why would he divorce her on the day of capture? Lene says he was captured first, and the Nazis only agreed to release him if he betrayed Nelly. Did they also insist he rush to execute a full writ of divorce on the same day? Why?? And if the Nazis already had him, why would they want to switch out and drag her to the camps instead of him? As a common singer, was she somehow a more valuable prisoner?

I know, I know, just stick with the tense emotions and great performances. Just enjoy it and don't over-analyze it. We did enjoy it, but I do both...and if there's too many "Huh's???" piling up, it can make a bad movie out of a potentially good one, and even turn a great one into just so-so, when you start thinking about how easily they could have righted the ship and still had all the greatness remain.

wilder

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Re: Phoenix
« Reply #29 on: May 04, 2016, 11:37:26 PM »
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You make many great points. I get upset when my girl is slapped, even when she deserves it.

 

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