(Paul Thomas Anderson, 1999)
You can read my 5th round writeup
if you really want to. For now I'm going to focus on Ghost Dog
and come back to Magnolia
in my verdict.
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai
(Jim Jarmusch, 1999)
This was my first viewing of Ghost Dog
, and since it has made it this far into the bracket and gotten quite a bit of praise I expected it to be something special. For the most part, I think it is. The unique qualities of the premise have already been discussed at length in previous writeups, and I too enjoyed the unusual combination of elements and their presentation.
I think what I most liked are the minor details in the story. The seemingly inconsequential elements that, when stacked together, are what really add depth to the otherwise simple plot. The humor really adds to the experience as well, the writing is pretty great (and only occasionally awkard). Ghost Dog is a really fascinating character to spend time watching, I get the impression that not everyone is sold on Forest Whitaker's performance, but I thought it was pretty spot on. The rest of the characters are pretty great too, Pearline and Raymond play incredibly important (and fun) roles, the mob guys are almost caricatured, but they work (the exchange between Louie and Vinny about being sent out like "real gangsters" was a nice cap).
A few problems: Reading through the past reviews I see I'm not the only one who took issue with some of the stylistic choices. At times it suffered from just plain poor choices, or became distracting. Most of the time Ghost Dog was shown to be a very professional, methodical, and resourceful hitman, and I was really disappointed when they required some major suspension of disbelief in what he was capable of. Also, every now and then something in the story just felt forced (Raymond and Ghost Dog repeating each other, for instance).
Overall a very good movie, and I'm really happy I finally saw it.