Ethan Hawke

Before…Sunrise, Sunset, Midnight

Back in 1995 Before Sunrise totally passed me by. Never heard of it…therefore, never seen it.

But then, somewhere around 2004 (probably 2005/2006 by the time it was released down in the far southern hemisphere), I watched Before Sunset and really enjoyed it. It has Jesse (Ethan Hawke) and Céline (Julie Delpy), who met 9 years earlier in Before Sunrise, meet again as Jesse promotes his latest book in Paris. They spend time together casually catching up about their lives as they became and slowly their encounter those years before comes to the surface again. I remember people commenting that this movie was boring but somehow I felt not. It was so real, a reflection of two people remembering, mulling over decisions made and the pathes taken. For me, the real-time story (Jesse has only an hour before he is due to catch a plane) adds to the realism.

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Naturally, I had to go find Before Sunrise. The story that started it all. How Jesse and Céline met in Vienna. How that wonderful night, that first encounter, inspired the bestselling book being promoted in 2004.

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And that was that for a while. I was satisfied how the two stories worked together.

Then, the 2013 Before Midnight came out. Once again Jesse and Céline and their current lives. 9 years after their second encounter, which was 9 years after their first encounter. While this one left me slightly despondent it still worked for me due to the elapsed years since the previous one and thus the contemplation around how time impacts relationships. The realism of it all.

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What makes this “Before trilogy” stand out is the approach in terms of the number of years that have passed both within (or should I say, between) the stories but also within the actual filming/release times. It adds a genuine touch. That we grow up or mature with the characters and the actors.

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But, I think this wouldn’t have worked if we didn’t have Richard Linklater writing and directing all three of them. And, we consistently have Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy as Jesse and Céline. They also add their writing skills to Before Sunset and Before Midnight. So, from viewer to director to writer to actor to character…we’ve all grown together, we’ve all changed but our core is still the same.

If you would like something slightly different, something where you feel like you are accompanying a couple sharing their thoughts, something thought provoking, then give these three movies a go. In chronological order though.

Head on over to MovieMovieBlogBlog for the Year after Year Blogathon where the entries have to deal with a time span of at least one year.

 

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Not bad…In a Valley of Violence

Movie Rob gave me the honour of selecting this month’s Genre for his Genre Grandeur series (head on over to last month’s post if you want to join in). What a perfect excuse to watch a whole lot of Westerns. I’m keeping the ones worthy of the “Grandeur” for Rob to publish at the end of the month. In the meantime, here’s my take on the newest Western I’ve watched:

OK…(releasing my breath)…I’m not sure where I stand with this one but it was an interesting ride. In a Valley of Violence (2016) is pretty much just that…a valley of violence. And into this valley comes stranger Paul (Ethan Hawke) and his dog Abby (Jumpy). They are just passing through (the reasons are briefly explored) but unfortunately get caught up with the marshal’s son Gilly (James Ransone) and his group of no-good hangers-on . Being left for dead, Paul swears on revenge and won’t rest until every last one of them is taken care of. And everyone who ends up in his way…including Marshal (John Travolta)

I wasn’t sure what to expect of this one but one thing I can say is that the performances were fantastic. From all involved. James Ransone, Karen Gillan (I’d never heard of her and now I see her 3 times in the space of 2 weeks), Taissa Farmiga and the list goes on (although, not too long as there are only 13 credited cast members). Ethan Hawke has redeemed himself in my movie-eyes since seeing him in The Magnificent Seven and Before Midnight, both of which I didn’t really feel for him. In this role, he’s back to showing us what he can do. John Travolta is, well…John Travolta. But the real star is Abby the dog, played by Jumpy…the dog. What a character!

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While the story probably isn’t too original, I must admit that I was holding my breath in suspense to see how this would all unfold. The beginning also left my wondering who this Paul is and what he is up to.valleyofviolence

What impressed me was the fantastic soundtrack. It worked so well and definitely stood out, which isn’t often the case. Oh, and those opening credits were so brilliantly done.

So, all-in-all, not bad.

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