With the Oscars coming soon and so many great films out, for the next few weeks I will be putting some focus on what appear to be the movies that will be on the academy's mind.
One of the first films I saw this season was MILK. An incredible story about gay rights activist Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man ever to be elected to major office. The film is written by Dustin Lance Black, a relatively unknown writer and is Directed by Gus Van Sant (Good WIll Hunting). The story is told by Harvey Milk, played by Sean Penn, as he narrates throughout.
Now I have always been a fan of good opening credit sequences and this one is very good. It features black and white videos and news clippings talking about the abuse of gay men by police and the government accompanied by a great score by Danny Elfman. It then opens on Sean Penn sitting down at his kitchen table and recording his will with interspersed clips of actual news coverage of Milk's assassination. We are then showed the beginning of Milk's career in 1970 when he meets his lover-to-be Scott, played by James Franco. The two of them make an excellent and believable couple but the age difference makes it a little strange to see.
I wont go much further into the plot because this is a movie everyone should see. Sean Penn is absolutely perfect and doesn't make a single mistake. Emille Hirsch is very funny and also very good proving that his talent will not be wasted on another Speed Racer. Josh Brolin as the famous Dan White, is excellent but I personally would like to have seen him receive a little more character development. James Franco is also great adding to a nice touch to very real story. Those are the big names featured in this movie but nevertheless, the rest of the cast does not disappoint! They do a superb job of backing up the already fantastic jobs of the better known actors.
So far this is my number one pick for 2008. The story is very touching and heartbreaking and the acting is fantastic, near flawless. The writing is very good. The dialogue feels very true and is usually kept light and comical but does not take away from the seriousness of the subject matter and plot. The directing and cinematography are nice. It is well done and very tight. Not an expendable shot in the entire movie. I give this film 4.5/5 stars and my picks for Best Actor-Sean Penn, Best Original Score-Danny Elfman, definite nomination for Best Picture and Best Director-Gus Van Sant and maybe some technical awards will be thrown in there. To wrap it up, if there is a movie out there to see this season, see MILK. And bring tissues, this ones a crier.