Monday, May 6, 2013

Day One Hundred and Twenty-six - Witness, "Shouldn't the movie be more about, oh, I dunno... the Witness?"

Harrison Ford has made a lot of great movies, I think. Maybe not everyone would agree with me, thanks to Working Girl, Firewall, and Indy 4, but c'mon... he was in freaking The Fugitive and Regarding Henry for crying out loud.

Yes, I have a young boy for sale... oh, I dunno, eight?
And Blade Runner.

Witness probably isn't his strongest piece, nor is it groundbreaking or all that interesting, really. The closest that comes to chemistry between its leads are the longing looks that his character Book and Kelly McGillis' Amish mother, Rachel, give each other, but... it's still oddly watchable.

Telling the story of laughably incompetent corrupt cops and the titular witness, a young Amish boy named Samuel (Lukas Haas), the film is mostly a fish out of water story as the city-bred Book is forced to go into hiding among the Amish.

Shot by one of said corrupt cops (played by Danny Glover of all people... I knew he had an edge before he met Riggs) while collecting his dry cleaning, John Book manages to limp away to the farm with his naive charges and causes quite a stir as an unmarried English guested in recently widowed Rachel's home, tempting her with his manly ways into sin, risking a severe shunning by her community.

Come together... right now... und build a barn!
Really, there's no romance here.

Book adapts, helps raise a barn, and peeps on Rachel giving herself a sponge bath. Not that she's adverse to being seen, mind you, but still. I want to admire the scene for breaking movie convention and not turning into a tawdry Amish romance novel (or Nick Sparks flick) where they take a roll in the literal hay, but I definitely wasn't sold on their kiss just before the climax.

Film climax, so that we're clear.

It's weird.

I really like the mute symbolism of the surrounding scenes, like when Rachel removes her cap before lunging into Book's arms for their one and only makeout session, but those moments are lost among the plodding awkwardness that is the rest of the film.

Aragorn and Karl from Die Hard are not amused.
Be it the corrupt cops' ineptitudes, Daniel's frowny face, or the jerkoff tourists and townies, Witness contains a sparse collection of good (not great) moments and a plethora of dreck. What should be bonding moments between Book and Samuel or romantic moments between Book and Rachel feel forced and fake.

That said... I still like it.

It's an interesting look at the depths of culture shock in our very own backyard instead of the far off and exotic locales most similar movies travel to, even if it's incompetently done. It's good that this is on Netflix, as I probably wouldn't buy it, but it's still worth the occasional watch.

Until tomorrow, Potatoes~

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