This movie is the cause of my complete blockage on the review front as I watched it about a month ago and simply refused to believe it left me so blah and with so little to say. I decided to wait until I was ready to give it a second chance. What can I say? I’m still left completely empty.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s stuff to like here. There’s so much, in fact, that this is almost the reason it frustrates me so to feel so underwhelmed by the whole. I want to love this movie. Scorsese does a Shining-like horror? I’m there! And the movie begins so wonderfully ominous, that stock music, the slightly-fake rear-projection on the boat reminding me as much of Hitchcock’s Vertigo as just a little of the opening of Kingdom of the Crystal Skull that thrilled me so.
The first time I watched, I lost interest fast. I think I was gone before the very first concentration camp flashback. I did better the second time, holding on to the plot for a good hour before the same thing pretty much happened again. I think my problem with this movie is that it shouldn’t need so much effort to follow, and I realise that some people will take that as in indication of my general intelligence but I’m still saying it. It’s a B movie through and through and Scorsese seems to know it… so why is it nearly 2 and a half hours long and so convoluted when the best it has to offer by way of resolution is Ben Kingsley with a stick literally pointing at a board that shows all the main characters names are anagrams of each other? (oops… SPOILERS)
After much reading of other people’s various interpretations of the story, I think I finally understood the variety of things I was evidently supposed to feel about DiCaprio’s journey in the movie, but I’m afraid to say I simply felt none. The final flashback revealing what happened between him, his wife and his children hit me harder the second time, I will give it that… DiCaprio’s pain in this scene is hard to bear and it’s the one place in the movie where the madness is truly scary… but it comes in the midst of so much nonsense, all of it seeming to take itself far too seriously, that it still didn’t fully sit well with me. I was more frightened by the implications of the twist at the end of James Mangold’s Identity than anything here, I’m afraid. And I know it’s “missing the point” to say it, but truly, Scorsese can do so much better than this.