Monday, November 05, 2007

Great essay on Jodie Foster

I mentioned once in passing that I heartily dislike Manohla Dargis' film reviews, hating what I called their sneering tone and all-round condescension. That dislike hasn't changed -- not yet -- but reading her great profile of Jodie Foster reminds me of why I still read -- or at least, skim -- every piece that she writes.

The piece captures, I think, that most striking Jodie Foster quality: her elusiveness. And it touches on, at the end, her striking choice of roles in the past few years, culminating this year, in The Brave One, a Death Wish-style vigilante movie* about a woman avenging the death of her boyfriend:
As she’s gotten older, she seems to have embraced the hardness for which she has sometimes been criticized. In recent years, she’s played several ferocious single mothers (“Panic Room,” “Flightplan”), a high-powered fixer in nosebleed heels (“Inside Man”) and even a one-legged nun (“The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys”). In “The Brave One,” she packs a gun and redeems the haunting child, the victim, who caused her so much pain. She has become the avenging angel of her own past.
Interestingly the essay makes no mention of Flora Plum, Foster's abortive third directorial venture, that was supposed to star Claire Danes and Russell Crowe (with whom Foster was reportedly having an affair and who was later replaced by Ewan Mcgregor) that has now been officially shelved (it's dissapeared from imdb!!)

*David Edelstein comments:
What could impel Jodie Foster and director Neil Jordan to whisk us back to the bad old days of Death Wish and Ms. 45? Were their credit cards maxed out? Were their kneecaps about to be broken? ... You probably think I’m oversimplifying—that Foster and Jordan are too thoughtful, artistically ambitious, and politically progressive to make a movie that would have Bernie Goetz rolling his eyes. But Foster’s feminist victimization complex seems to be looping around to meet Nixon and Agnew. Next she’ll be hunting Commies for the FBI.

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