- THE ASPHALT JUNGLE (1950)
John Huston’s The Asphalt Jungle (1950) is about a group of people who plan to steal jewels that are worth $ 1 million. As they are done with the heist they face betrayals from each other. They have to deal with their greed while also ensuring that they do not get caught by the authorities.
In this film the heist is not what matters, but the characters do. The characters have been given different shades, so we understand their motives. They aren’t bad guys after all, they are like you and me. This humanness given to the characters is what makes this film stand out from other noirs. They’ve been shown from an empathetic lens.
This is one of the best ensembles I’ve ever seen. Sterling Hayden is a star, he’s charismatic as this low life/hooligan. Sam Jaffe just fills every scene with his somber energy and Louis Calhern is charming as this criminal attorney.
John Huston is one of the most important figures in American cinema. He gave the American noir genre a head start. This is one of the very first caper films. He has a very unique way of capturing a scene. He shoots it in small and confined locations. This helps in elevating the tension. This style of his has inspired several great filmmakers. With this movie, he’s done a great job at creating tension, you’re on your toes from the very first scene. Huston is at the top of his game with this movie, Asphalt Jungle is one of the best heist films ever made.
- CHARLIE WILSON’S WAR (2007)
Charlie Wilson’s War is based on the true story of congressman Charlie Wilson about how he let go of his glamourous life and helped support the Afghan troops against Soviet invaders.
Charlie Wilson was a very interesting personality with a controversial and vibrant life. He enjoyed his drugs, booze and girls to the fullest. The film portrays him in an alluring way. It also nicely portrays the things he went through, and how he persuaded people at different positions for the funding. It was interesting to see how things run inside the closed doors of the congress and government in general along with all the talk that goes behind everything. Tom hanks is captivating as Charlie Wilson. The charisma that he exudes with this persona is really noteworthy. The guy who stole the show for me though is Philip Seymour Hoffman. He’s super mesmerising as a CIA operative. My favorite scene of him was one in which he’s arguing with his superior over an assignment, it was just amusing and cleverly written. Which brings me to the writing. Written by the legend, Aaron Sorkin this film smartly balances comedy and drama. It is deftly structured and he knows how to write smart and funny dialogues without making them sound cheesy. Mike Nichols’ has done a fine job with the direction, and I loved the way he’s presented the characters.
Overall Charlie Wilson’s War is an entertaining political satire that is definitely worth your time.