Reel-View Ratings: The Bigger The Beard, The Better The Movie
In Nazi-occupied Czechoslovakia, two resistance fighters (Jamie Dornan and Cillian Murphy) resolve to kill Hitler’s No. 3 man, Reinhard Heydrich, in a plot called Operation Anthropoid. Based on history, this film somehow ends up reading like the worst of fictions. Deprived of charisma, its leading men bumble from one mishap to another, nervously pursuing their plot even as every other character warns them not to. The drama is misplaced, dragging on for too long in some parts, unraveling too rapidly in others. There’s no perspective to this history. It’s like a pulpy war fantasy that needed to be revised three or four more times.
Plays at 4:15, 6:30 and 8:45 p.m. Nov. 6 at the Movie Museum
Three short stories comprise this anthology film, all about women facing the harsher realities of life in rural Montana. A female lawyer (Laura Dern) deals with an increasingly deranged client, a would-be home builder (Michelle Williams) haggles with her neighbor over precious stone, and an introverted teacher (Kristen Stewart) is courted (sort of) by her awkward pupil (Lily Gladstone). Nothing is overt, nothing is hammered home — everything is quietly, naturally placed just so, a perfect rendition of reality that seems almost anti-film-like. It is feminist (how could it not be?) but it eschews preaching for quiet, matter-of-fact moments that instruct in silence, frowns and the faintest grimaces. It can be dull — but only if you don’t want to pay attention.
Opens Nov. 4 at Kahala Theatre
Desmond Doss (Andrew Garfield) was a conscientious objector when he was drafted into the army in World War II, citing his religious beliefs as a Seventh-day Adventist as to why he would not pick up a rifle. He seems an odd and yet entirely fitting subject for Mel Gibson’s latest directorial effort, a violent crescendo that idealizes peace even as guts and gore splatter the dirt of Okinawa. The biopic pays faithful tribute to its subject, as Gibson leaves him and his morals without fabricated crises. While harrowing, it does retain that veneer of pacifism. A contradiction wrapped in a bloody paradox; a counterpoint to Saving Private Ryan in structure and approach. It’s good, but hard to watch. It doesn’t get more Gibsonian than that.
Opens Nov. 4 in wide release