My picks from the Austin Film Festival are four strong. I saw more but I liked these the best.
Three of which are gonna be Oscar contenders( or should be).
“The Road, The Messenger and Precious…..” all blew me away.
Now, the way I do this festival is to not do any research on the premise or the stories of the films. Sometimes I am tipped off by the buzz, sometimes not. And yes, sometimes I win and sometimes I see some bad stuff, but I never have any expectations. Surprise of greatness is an awesome experience in film watching.
First was “Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire.” This screened to a sold out Paramount audience. There is truly no better way to screen a film. I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the house when the credits rolled. God, it was brutal. This girl’s life was so sad and harsh but there was love that climbed out from the darkness. Truly inspiring. The writing and the cast were so tight that I felt like I was watching a documentary more than once. You will hear more about this in weeks to come
“Pocket Full of Soul” did it for me. It was a documentary on the harmonica. It was music to my ears. I learned more about a subject that I know a “little” about.Man I wish I could play that thing. I do love that sound.
Next up was“The Messenger.” The buzz about this was huge. It was co-written and directed by the screenwriter of “I’m Not There,” the Bob Dylan film. It starred Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster as” death notice officers” for the Army. The folks that deliver the bad news. Both of these guys were great. Ben Foster just shined. I’m gonna say best actor but who knows we have a few months. The pace was slow. The acting was the gift here.
“The Road” played to a full house at the Paramount.I liked this the best. It was bleak but very fine tuned. I found out that night that it was from a novel. Post apocalyptic wandering father and son, Viggo Mortenson and Kodi Smit Mcphee dodge cannabals and search for food on the never ending path to a warmer place. I normally avoid films with kids as main actors, expecially these type of films. I had no problem here. Everything worked. This was well done . This film is sure to garner some awards. Bring a sweater when you see this one.
That was my Austin Film Fest 09 see yall next …………………….