Monday, June 06, 2005

Million Dollar Baby (2004)

"Ooo, a million dollar purse? I wonder what that looks like!"

Genre: Sport Drama

Starring: Clint Eastwood (The Good, The Bad, And The Ugly; High Plains Drifter), Hilary Swank (Boys Don't Cry; The Next Karate Kid)

Directed By: Clint Eastwood (Mystic River; Sudden Impact)

Overview: A woman determined to be a boxing champ convinces an old coach to train her to get to the top.

Acting: The acting is extremely strong. The portrayals by Maggie's family, "Danger" and all the rest of the supporting cast was excellence. Obviously the director didn't let anyone off easy. Everyone was terrific, not to mention the all star cast.
Rating: 8

Cinematography: The images, I found, were rather dark. I was surprised at the mood-setting shots throughout the movie were often shadowy and harshly lit, and no I don't mean in the ring scenes. Quite obviously this was intended to be mood setting imagery but for as much as I tried to get into it, it didn't quite click with me, but kudos for trying a touch of art. Maybe others sensed the "life is the ring" metaphor.
Rating: 7

Script: The writing is incredible. I expected more tearjerking scenes, but the boxing was solid, though too short, not suspenseful enough, thought I know they weren't going for the Rocky angle. The moral lessons, wit and intellect were all there. The writer is a great storyteller.
Rating: 8

Plot: The plot is as solid as Maggie's right hook. We start with some character development, jump right into the motivations and though this film is longer than most, we're quickly taken through to a very dramatic ending and a great conclusion, though again I felt more detached from the plot than I expected for an Academy Award winner.
Rating: 8

Mood: The mood was decent. The dark setting and the gym weren't the things that set the mood for me. The characters and their backgrounds, their pain, what they carry with them to the next stage of their lives, this really sung in to set the mood for the movie. Far more cerebral that cinematics, score or settings.
Rating: 8

"Uh, Hillary, it's not that kind of purse..."

Overall Rating: 78% (Delivers a Solid Blow)

Aftertaste: I expected so much more! I knew this would be good, I had no problem with it, but Academy Awards and the ending theme, I thought I would get something in the 80-85% range. You won't be disappointed, just keep your guard up.