Friday, June 27, 2008

TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD (Robert Mulligan, 1962, USA) Harper Lee’s legendary novel is adapted into one of the greatest American films ever produced! The Academy Award winning screenplay delves deep into the characters and reveals the dirty hidden side of human nature from a child’s innocent perspective. Gregory Peck becomes Atticus Finch and I dare you to imagine someone else while reading the book…and you better read the book! The opening title sequence is one of my favorites: a child playfully draws (a mockingbird or a finch?) and hums while the camera pans to close-up on a mysterious box and its contents. This foreshadows the relationship between the children and the reclusive Boo Radley. The Elmer Bernstein score is subtle and very effective because he lets the film breath and come alive. The moments of silence speak louder than words. Robert Mulligan skillfully directs the beautiful black and white cinematography for some incredible shots: a contemplative Atticus sitting on his porch swing while his children remember their mother, the sweaty courtroom drama and the hysterics, the black folk rising in respect to Atticus as he exits the courtroom, and the lynching scene as the camera cuts to the crowds reaction as Scout innocently admonishes the men. The film doesn’t pull any punches in examining the ubiquitous prejudice that leads an innocent black man to his death and doesn’t hide the racial epitaphs. Atticus Finch makes an impassioned plea to a jury of white men to acquit the accused and make their decision based on fact, not prejudice. In failing Tom Robinson they fail all of us. The Criminal Justice System is a reflection of our society: I wonder if either has changed much in the past 75 years? (A+)

No comments: