With Father’s day falling this weekend I’ve listed some films loosely dealing with Daddy issues, some more tenuous than others.
Raising Arizona – ★★★★★ (Joel & Ethan Coen)
Nicolas Cage stars as H.I. McDunnough, a career criminal or “repeat offender” who falls in love with a policewoman played by Holly Hunter. When it becomes clear that they can’t have kids of their own they decide to steal one of a group of quintuplets recently born to a local eminent business owner because well “they got more than they can handle”. Naturally they end up getting more than they bargained for and gradually the situation begins to weigh heavy on them, especially on McDunnough, who feels he might not be cut out to be a dad and struggles with the idea of a normal life.
Shot by Barry Sonnenfeld this has some of the greatest cinematography that I’ve ever seen, seemingly trying to make everything seem like a Looney Toon, even Nicolas Cage’s look is reportedly based on Wyle E. Coyote. Edgar Wright is a huge fan as you can tell, once in an interview wondering why every comedy isn’t shot like Raising Arizona and then admitting it’s just too hard to pull off.
The Royal Tenenbaums – ★★★★½ (Wes Anderson)
Gene Hackman excels as Royal, an estranged patriarch to a once great family, who had no less than three child geniuses. After running low on finances Royal gets kicked out of the hotel and moves back into the family home causing all sorts of chaos with the family.
Like all Wes Anderson movies everything is painstakingly thought out and executed – from the costumes to the camera moves to the brilliant soundtrack and score and also manages to hit real emotions and pathos in between the posturing and jokes.
Winter’s Bone – ★★★★½ (Debra Granik)
Jennifer Lawrence’s breakthrough role as a teenager living in the Ozark Mountains who, through circumstances out of her control, must set off to find her meth-making father who has disappeared just before his court appearance and put their house up for bail. As she begins to scratch the surface of what her father’s involved in, she’s threatened from every angle and at every turn.
You might need to wear your winter coat watching this film, the cold Missouri locations are so vivid that you may feel a chill. It’s a film that’s quite unsettling in its portrayal of a rural, barren, drug riddled outback in America and is not for the fainthearted. It also features great support work from John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt and Dale Dickey.
Down Terrace – ★★★½ (Ben Wheatley)
The director of Kill List and Sightseers debut feature film is a typically taut, cheap affair that beautifully balances pitch black comedy and violence.
Robin Hill (Wheatley’s editor as well) and his real life dad, Robert Hill play a criminal father and son who after getting arrested become hell bent on figuring out who ratted them out. The laughs and the gasps get better and better as the film goes on, I particularly loved Michael Smiley’s contribution.