A weekly feature from from ctvnews.ca! The Crouse Review is a quick, hot take on the weekend’s biggest movies! This week Richard looks at the documentary “Midnight Return,” “The Insult,” Lebanon’s first-ever Academy Award nomination for best foreign-language film and “In the Fade” starring Diane Kruger.
Richard sits in with CTV NewsChannel anchor Marcia MacMillan to have a look at the weekend’s big releases, the documentary “Midnight Return,” “The Insult,” Lebanon’s first-ever Academy Award nomination for best foreign-language film and “In the Fade” starring Diane Kruger.
“The Insult,” Lebanon’s first-ever Academy Award nomination for best foreign-language film, centers around a small slight that escalates until the eyes of a nation are turned toward it.
The problems begin with a leaky illegal drainpipe on Lebanese Christian auto mechanic named Tony’s (Adel Karam) Beirut balcony. When it drips water unto a construction crew working below, Palestinian Muslim refugee Yasser (Kamel El Basha) patches it. Enraged a stranger has tampered with his property Tony undoes the work and demands an apology. “He thinks he’s a hotshot but he’s not.” Tony rants. “He better apologise for insulting me.” When the men meet Tony, who is revealed as a fan of anti-Palestinian Christian leader Bachir Gemayel, blurts out “I wish Ariel Sharon had wiped you all out.” A physical confrontation leads to a court trial which becomes a media sensation.
Writer-director Ziad Doueiri, who worked as a camera assistant under Quentin Tarantino on “Pulp Fiction” and “Jackie Brown,” uses the small story of two men and a disagreement to shine a light on an old and continuing deadlock in the Middle East. Buoyed by terrific performances—El Basha won the Best Actor prize at the Venice Film Festival—the film comments on the Lebanese civil war in microcosm. Boiling the country’s history of unrest between Sunni Muslims and Christians down to a personal story puts a human face on a huge problem. Doueiri humanizes the conflict metaphorically, showing the effects of dehumanizing rhetoric and hate.
“The Insult” is a serious, powerful film that offers not only emotion but also empathy.
Like a lot of young people in the aftermath of 9/11 Adam Driver joined the marines. “Being in the military,” says the This Is Where I Leave You star, “believe it or not, is very different than being in an acting school.”
An injury during a training exercise cut short his military career just shy of three years.
“With the military I grew up very fast,” he says. “Suddenly I was responsible for things that aren’t typical for eighteen or nineteen year olds. Other people’s lives and things like that. It ages you. I loved being in the military but when I got my freedom and could be a civilian again I was interested in perusing acting. I had tunnel vision but there was a big learning curve of learning to be a civilian again; it’s not appropriate to yell at people, people are people and I can’t force my military way of thinking on them. There were a lot of things going on. I am better adjusted now.”
Post marines he studied at Julliard, became one of the breakout star of Girls, worked with Spielberg, the Coen Brothers and has a movie coming soon with Martin Scorsese.
His This Is Where I Leave You co-star Jane Fonda calls him, “our next Robert De Niro plus Robert Redford.”
He plays Fonda’s youngest son Phillip, a young man who arrives home for his father’s funeral with a much older finance (Connie Britton) and a chip on his shoulder because his siblings don’t take him seriously.
“I understood Phillip,” he says. “Similar to the military, you leave and grow into a different person. You experience things that obviously people weren’t with you when you experienced them, and you come back and want people to view you differently and acknowledge this man you’ve become.
“It’s like being a civilian when you have rank and are used to a certain level of respect. You’re Lance Corporal and you go to a Starbucks and somebody who probably went to college, and you’re jealous that you didn’t go to college, tells you to move and suddenly you’re angry. You don’t know who I am! I was a Lance Corporal! It means nothing. That kind of dynamic was really relatable to me.”
Driver has a host of projects on the way, including Hungry Hearts, a film that won him the Volpi Cup for Best Actor at the 71st Venice International Film Festival and a little thing called Star Wars Episode VII.
“Star Wars is a big thing,” he says. It’s huge but what [director] J. J. Abrams and [screenwriter] Larry Kasdan have written, the way they have decided to approach the project is how you approach anything. From the very beginning it is all about story and character. Effects and the spectacle, as in the original, won’t take a back seat because it is very much part of the story but the story dictates that instead of vice versa. Yes, this a long time ago in a galaxy far away, but at the same time it’s about loves and friendship, those universal things that gave the original movies such a long life and resonance. It’s all about just playing this moment and the next moment and hopefully at the end we’ll have a movie.”