Friday, April 06, 2007


Yesterday I watched a 25-year-old, 3-1/2 hour long movie about an American Bolshevik who has been dead for nearly a century.


Any chance a movie like this could get made today? Not much more chance than you would have of finding an American Bolshevik today.

But the fact is, the movie -- recently released in a 25th Anniversary DVD edition -- is by no means some sort of leftist diatribe. What makes it seem faintly anachronistic in this day and age is actually its mere willingness to examine lefty political thought as a matter worthy of examination. It does throw into sharp relief the degree to which any mainstream political discussion seems rooted in either a defense or assault on the personalities involved -- as though any underlying theoretical political position is not up for discussion. Everything is up for discussion in the world of the movie's characters (sometimes ad nauseum), and everything is discussed.

Reactions to a movie that I haven't seen for 25 years? Chiefly, whatever happened to Diane Keaton? While I know that the answer is that Hollywood doesn't have much to do with or for 61 year-old actresses, and that she's basically lucky to get work at all, it is just a damn shame that such a great actress is wasted playing the same role over and over and over. She is absolutely brilliant in Reds, the true center of the movie even when she isn't given a whole lot more to do than react to Warren Beatty's lead. I'm not sure that there has ever been a more expressive actress than Keaton in her prime, and this is her prime.


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