First off, yes I loved Stallone’s Judge Dredd – I think it is a fantastic movie for a bunch of wonderful reasons, and I watch it every chance I get – maybe I’ll post something on it some time. Second, for ENTIRELY different reasons I loved the movie Dredd that came out in 2012. I confess I didn’t see it until tonight in a cable broadcast, but I am delighted that I did watch it, so much so that I added a posting category called Visual Art. Of course, it was just a matter of time until I did that, and actually that category should have been there since the beginning.
Okay, back to Dredd – this movie was an amazing presentation of complementary and contrasting visual, social, moviemaking, and other overt and subtle artistic elements. For example, the characters are as stark as they could possibly be – they are almost like charcoal drawings – beautiful, rich, and detailed, but absolutely specific – very black-and-white, but not one-dimensional. In other words, the writing, directing, and of course the acting, were enormously effective in creating these characters. The nature of the characters is a powerful contrast to the amazing visual character of the film, which is so beautifully created that you could just watch the movie, exploring every varying, beautiful, harsh, gritty, artistic, and super-effected visual detail to the exclusion of all else. Um, that would be the result of amazing set design, art direction, cinematography, and visual effects.
There is absolutely nothing “frue-frue” (LOL, okay, that didn’t write too well, and I desperately hope I haven’t unintentionally written something filthy in another language, but this is a term my family and I use for frivolous, fluffy, flakey, full of frippery, etc., and maybe now you do, too!) about this movie. Now, the storyline and movement in this movie are entirely violent and jarring, and if that was all this film had to offer, I would have been sadly disappointed. Having said that, the violence is actually a beautiful contrast, complement, and essential building block for the very clean, simple, direct storyline and vividly specific characters. It both contrasts with and is integral to the amazing visual impact and efficacy of this movie.
I will say that it is likely that most people would not see in this movie the things I saw, that is if they opted to watch it in the first place. Unfortunately, I’ve found that many people are unwilling to even consider watching some movies, or viewing some art, or pondering some concepts – often in a purely dismissive way. A number of years ago, I worked for a company that purchased and hung a large number of abstract pieces of art, and oh, my goodness, you should have heard the endless grumbling from the employees about how awful it was just because it was abstract art, period. I’m not saying that it was the best art I’d ever seen, or that even the best art will or even should elicit positive responses from all, but there is a big difference between not having a preference for something and dismissing it out of hand from blind prejudice or complacent ignorance. I admit there are numerous movies that I internally classify as “really well made movies that I won’t watch again” – but I do not dismiss them out of hand. There are also many, many other movies that I describe as “this element was not done well, but that element was really great – I love it” – they are the special ones, the gems. I love finding the gems, and I hope you do, too!