Monday, March 21, 2005

Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

No the kid's name is NOT TIBET.

Genre: Drama

Starring: Brad Pitt (Fight Club; Kalifornia), Jamyang Jamtsho Wangchuk

Directed By: Jean-Jacques Annaud (Enemy At The Gates; In The Name Of The Rose)

Overview: This is the true story of Heinrich Harrer and his long stay in Tibet, where he befriends the young adolescent Dalai Lama.

Acting: The acting is great, everyone follows good direction and this goes off without a hitch, thought no great Oscar moments. I still wonder if Brad Pitt was doing an apt Austrian Accent. I guess I'll never know.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The panoramic scenery of the city of Lhasa and the Dalai Lama's palace, along with the Himalayas are grandiose as expected. Sadly nothing terribly ingenious was presented to us beyond that. Real good stuff though.
Rating: 7

Script: Again, the writing was good but not amazing. What I found odd throughout was that everyone was speaking English. The Tibetans, the Chinese, the Austrians, and the Germans. But in one scene, I swear the soldiers were speaking Tibetan. What the hell was that about? Overall really well written, especially the Lama's lines.
Rating: 7

Plot: The movie ran a little long I found. Too much prep and pre Lama, too little depth of Heinrich and the boy versus the story of Chinese occupation. But again, overall, a tremendously told tale.
Rating: 7

Mood: The best parts, honestly, were the culture setting mood shots. The opening scenes show us Great Nazi banners and black uniforms all over in Germany, juxtaposed by the peaceful pilgrimages to Lhasa to the four year old Dalai Lama. The Tibetan chanting made me wish there was more of it, and I found myself wanting to be immersed a little more in the visual aspects of the great dining halls and meeting rooms of the monks and council members, which sadly we did not see. But again, top notch stuff, very professional.
Rating: 7

And no Brad Pitt doesn't try to punch the Dalai Lama in the ear...

Overall Rating: 70% (Seven Times Ten, Even)

Aftertaste: I read that Brad Pitt was banned from China for his role in this film. For that alone, I guess it's worth seeing. If China fears such truth, then it must be good right? My expectations for this film were right on par with what was delivered, and though good, it will only be one of the many movies I point to in the video store and say "seen it" without further comment. Everything about this was good, but I found it lacking the excellence it was capable of delivering.