Theatrical Tuesday – A Review of Liberty Stands Still


TuesdayI was almost an extra soccer fan in a thriller this week, but they decided they needed fewer extras. Ah well, I’m on the list in case something happens to any of the others. Maybe next time. I’m not sure today’s post would’ve been very different as films typically involve NDAs.

I’m going to start highlighting Canadian films and TV shows on this blog because there is a lack of marketing around them and I believe that is a major thing affecting our industry up here. Marketing is expensive and with much of the limited budget gone on making the films themselves, there isn’t much left to spread the word.

Liberty Stands Still is a 2002 thriller written and directed by Ottawa’s own, Kari Skogland. She is an award-winning, female, Canadian film director.

TAGLINE (from IMDB)

Liberty, the wife of a gun manufacturer, is held hostage at a hot dog stand by a sniper seeking revenge.

LEADING ACTORS

Wesley Snipes plays Joe the sniper who holds Liberty (Linda Fiorentino) hostage at a hot dog stand.

RECEPTION

This particular film wasn’t well received because it takes a hard stance on gun control to the point of being offensive to many gun owners. At least that’s the story from some critics. Bowling for Columbine came out the same year and was well received by Hollywood, earning an Oscar.

SOUND

One thing I noticed lacking was the soundtrack. Most of the time there was a dead air kind of sound perhaps like a phone where people have stopped talking, which sort of makes sense for the film, but doesn’t help people connect to the story.

It seemed like it was stock sound when there was any and US films often have great soundtracks because they encourage the audience to emotionally connect with the film and when you’re making such a strong statement, you need to work harder to connect with the audience. Here’s the soundtrack list for Bowling for Columbine. Interestingly, Bowling for Columbine’s budget was 7 Million less. I’m not sure if that’s because it was more of a documentary style, but they got a lot of decent songs for that price.

VISUALS

The film’s opening credits have an artistic flair to them.

The film has some bloody moments, but they are no where near the level of a Tarantino film, so I doubt that it really should be R-rated by today’s standards, but I suppose it’s similar in level of violence and such as other films that year.

There’s a lot of reusing of the same footage. There aren’t many stunning shots in between scenes chock full of dialogue.

The device holding Liberty’s lover hostage is neat.

WRITING

Having worked at a police station, I find it really odd that the police assume Liberty must be working with the sniper instead of being held hostage. Also, I can’t understand why it took so long to evacuate the theatre next to the bomb-laden hot dog cart. There’s a general lack of knowledge about police procedures. We had a mysterious bag and locked down the station so the public couldn’t enter the building while we searched for it.

I liked the twist near the end and the rest was decent.

OVERALL IMPRESSION

While there are some things that could be better on the writing end, I didn’t find the acting or the story lacking because of it. Something was flat and I believe it was the music. We have so many talented musicians in Canada and I think we could make better use of them. With a few well known artists and some up and comers, I think it could be much improved.

I’m looking forward to seeing some of the other films by this director.

Hope you liked my review.

Guid cheerio the nou,
R~

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