DIRECTOR - Sam Mendes


  1. SirPant
  2. Anthony

I don't want to be known for one thing. I don't want to have an adjective based around my name. 'Lynchian', I know what that is, I know what 'Kubrickian' is, and I know what 'Bergmanesque' means. But there isn't going to be, and I don't want there to be, a 'Mendesian'.

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  SirPant's Rating My Rating
1
American Beauty 1999,  R)
American Beauty
Very overrated and quite insulting really. The scene with the plastic bag floating in the wind for ages was arrogant and stupid.
2
Road to Perdition 2002,  R)
Road to Perdition
Overall I was quite disappointed with this film, mainly due to being a big fan of the comic and the fact it was hyped up to be the best thing since sliced bread by most film review magazines.
3
Jarhead 2005,  R)
Jarhead
I would say this was 50% accurate and 50% gloss. Entertaining but I didn't care much for Gyllenhaal and Foxx's performances.
4
Revolutionary Road 2008,  R)
Revolutionary Road
I loved the book, I liked the film but I've got to say I hated the direction. Sam Mendes really didn't capture the true essence of what I felt reading the book. Sure it was well paced, well acted and the 50's style well realised, I just feel he missed the point somewhat. It is a dark novel written by a bitter man and the film wasn't dark enough, there should have been more of a contrast between hope and despair. I also hated the soundtrack. Concentrating on the good aspects though, props to the props, the performances were good esp Michael Shannon's and the final scene was kept as it was in the book, although not with the same impact. I could go on for ever about what I didn't like about the film version but in the end of the day they are just a bunch of niggles as I did like it and would recommend it.
5
Away We Go 2009,  R)
Away We Go
No, I didn't like American Beauty or Road to Perdition. Mainly because American Beauty was totally over-hyped, I couldn't relate to any of the characters and I believe it only did well because there wasn't much competition in the cinemas at the time. I didn't like Road to Perdition because it was a poor adaptation of one of my favourite comics and I'm a purist. I quite like everything else Sam Mendes has done though (apart from breaking poor Kate Winslet's heart). Away We Go being one of his best so far. I loved the relationship between Burt (John Krasinski) and Verona (Maya Rudolph), I love the way they ask themselves at the age of 34 (the age I am now) "Are we F**k ups?". Both are trying to find themselves in amongst their home, family and friends and each other which will sound pathetic to anyone of a younger age but just you wait, one day you will realise that a lot of your friends are actually selfish idiots with right-wing tendencies and you wont see it coming (that's my story anyway). Families can be equally rubbish when you least expect. The characters in Away we Go are exaggerated but then we all know that one couple that you wouldn't believe if you were told about by someone else. What I really liked is that they worked out everything together, there was none of the cliched 'Break up, have sex with someone else, apologies, declare undying love after all, forgive, get married instantly, etc etc' nonsense. It's a real love story, not the usual Hollywood rubbish that it fantastical and usually pretty far from real life. I'm not saying Away we Go is a work of realism but it has all the charm and beauty that a loving relationship can have and it's nice to see that in film for a change. I loved it. It's just a shame Maya Rudolph went on to make Grown Ups and Friends with Kids, two films that go against the beauty displayed in Away we Go. Money is money I guess.
6
Skyfall 2012,  PG-13)
Skyfall
Not at all what I expected, although with Sam Mendes at the helm it does make sense. It's the re-invention of re-inventions, God knows Bond has been through a few in recent years. I think this time though they got it right and it was a long time coming. Casino Royal was a misfired attempt at an idea that Quentin Tarantino touted and quite frankly, they should have let him have a go. Instead they played it safe and it was boring. Same goes for Quantum of Solace which was even more boring, I can't even remember what happened it was that forgettable. Skyfall has re-invented the idea of Bond, what is his point in this day and age you ask, well Skyfall tells you, it makes him relevant again. It also touches on him as a character as well, I'm not sure he really needed a back story, although Flemming does touch on it in his books. He's quite a dark character when you look at his history, they wisely avoid this though in Skyfall. Bond has shown his venerability before but never so much so as he does here, frankly I didn't like it but they just about get away with the cliche of the washout returns to form. The real re-invention here though is actually (and quite unashamedly) a return to what Bond always was. (Doh!). I've heard people say that it was the only thing they could do to avoid spending a massive budget, indeed this did feel like credit-crunch Bond but again I'm not sure past Bond budgets have been justifiable. *Spoilers* Basically, Bond isn't redundant in the modern technologically dependent world because computers etc can be manipulated, you need a man on the ground, you need the man in the shadows, the ruthless killer and ladies man of the Flemming novels. Q is back, toned down a bit but still he's back, as is Miss Money Penny (brilliantly reintroduced). Then we have M. No more being bossed around by a Women eh! Not very PC but in their defence Money Penny is now Black! *Sarcastic wink*. Also, and this really did surprise me (although it was probably common knowledge by now) M is a man again! Break out the cigars and Brandy, he's even got a leather door! Bond, very much back then. A brave move, even though it felt like they had to do it to save the franchise, either way, good move. Maybe now we can start to forget all about that invisible car...

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