hopscotchee: bill camp score: 82 rating: PG-13 time: 104 minutes
dang, dano!! why have you been hiding your directing talent for so long!! legit, this movie is pure. it's raw. it's emotional. you want it to be over for the kid, but at the same time you could just stare at the shot comp. forever.
if you don't know paul dano, the academy award nominee he is, it's needless to say he's an incredible actor but major props go to him for his directorial debut with wildlife. he really captured the hostility of the parent's relationship and the uncomfortableness of the kid trying to live amongst it. one of our favorite ways that he told this was through the brilliant use of long shots (not cutting away) throughout the film, that kept you, as the audience, in the scene, not allowing you to escape the reality that joe was stuck in. for example, in the school scene where (spoiler) joe gets up from his desk to talk to his teacher, because he is unprepared to take the quiz, due to his failure to complete the previous night's homework, since his father left, the shot stays on his desk from the beginning of the scene, from the time he gets up to the time when he returns, hearing his and the teacher's conversation in the distance. we've all been there, so we can instantly empathizes for his school struggles, but by making the audience wait with the still shot, it builds to the suspense and dread that you feel for joe, which brilliantly makes the film even more touching, forcing you to feel what it's like for joe, as if you are him at times. another thing that took this movie to another level was the cinematography. the simple color palette composed of pale, non-vibrant, and bland colors encapsulated the boredom and draining that the brinson family underwent - this also was, snaps to the crew, cleverly contrasted when (spoiler) warren - enter bill camp - emerged in the film, which instigated jeanette to start seeking autonomy in her life, shown through her colorful dresses or his warmly lit house.
now, although this movie holds several beautiful connections and themes, it is good to note that the pace of the film is slow. this is in an effort to build timing for a greater emotional swell at the end of the movie, however, if you are one that gets easily antsy while watching shows, this may not be your movie. but we promise you, it's worth the wait.
overall, one of the most insightful aspects of this film was how paul dano told what could have been a basic story about (spoiler) a family's separation but instead, dove deeper into the impact of each individual that, though was mainly shown through the perspective of joe, depicted the struggles people endure when trying to find something more with their life. and even though this movie was set in the sixties, this allowed everyone to relate and feel for the complexity of jeanette's and jerry's individual monotony.
with that said, as future filmmakers, we believe that this movie should be a mandatory watch for anyone pursuing a career in film. this movie is clean, and you can learn a lot from it. it includes all the groundworks for what a movie should have, but was done so immaculately that made this a work of art. and for this being paul dano's first movie he directed, which mad respect to you, bro, watch out!! we can't wait to see more!!
-- thanks, bill xo