After 13 long and troubled years, DEADWOOD has finally returned, and, yes, it has been worth the wait. Writer David Milch overcoming massive debts owed to loan sharks and the onset of Alzheimer's to pen his masterpiece; this belated feature-length finale is as dense and as gratifying as the series ever was. I doubt there'll be a better film this year, or at least a film as elegantly written.
For a movie about A-grade students, this, for a while at least is decidedly a C+ high school comedy, one told from the perspective of a pair of post-Broad City millennial girls. Eventually, however, it both charms and finds its feet as an affecting coming-of-age tale. The cast is wonderful, with Billie Lourd, in particular, stealing her scenes.
You might expect a film adaptation of a story called The Chink and the Child made by Birth of a Nation director D.W. Griffith to be, well, not exactly racially sensitive. And, true, the character of Cheng Huan is played by westerner Richard Barthelmess, who squints his eyes to achieve an oriental look. But, if anything, Broken Blossoms is about tolerance, and in particular racial tolerance, it being the story of two ethnically different star-crossed lovers, whose flowering affections are…
Sally Potter's high camp take on the Virginia Woolf novel is a tale of a gender-bending androgyne who lives for centuries; underneath the film's glossy artifice, though, there's a tragic core. It's like a slightly less gay Highlander, basically.
Tilda Swinton is superb, and whose incredible face looks like something you would normally find gazing out from an Elizabethan portrait. S/he carries the film, but it is also about the sumptuous costumes and art design, with any sense of precious artiness undercut by a Gilliamesque sense of irreverence and humour. Wonderful.