Release Date: February 25th
Weeks in release: 9
Days at #1: 7
Read the script
directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson
starring: Vince Vaughn, Nick Nolte, Jon Voight, Phillip Baker Hall, Don Cheadle, Emily Watson, Ted Levine, Natasha Wagner, Lucian
written by: Chris Shue
Won the following VP Other Awards: Best Twist Ending, Best Hero, Best Villian.
Nominated for the following VP Other Awards: Best Quote, Best Cliche, Movie Most Likely to Sell Action Figures
10 VP Choice Awards Nominations
Best Actor in a Action, Sci-Fi, Mystery, or
Horror Film - Vince Vaughn
Anyway, I have to like this because it has Joe Don Baker, a.k.a. ... MITCHELL! Swain seems to be spouting similar rhetoric to Alan Keyes, and Keyes is drawing like 3% of the Republican vote so it’s a little hard to believe that Swain would be the presidential favorite in five years. At least the movie faithfully portrays Lucian’s ultra-conservative right-wing politics, heh heh heh. Based on what we’ve seen of P.T. Anderson’s films, the single-protagonist approach and the politicalness of this aren’t a fit. I suspect the short version isn’t short enough to satisfy those who want to read short versions
Leon's Line 02/27/00
The whole look of the project
is completely professional. The ending was a complete surprise, far from
what I expected, and not entirely the ending I was hoping for - the
optimist in me, I guess. From the pitch I must admit that I assumed that
we would be "preached at" (for want of a better phrase) by this
script. I was very much mistaken. The "political" ideas were
only there to develop the plot and we are left to think and believe what
we like. The "conspiracy" was not dwelt on in the way that
"Jim Tomb is Dead", for example, did. This though is because it
is really only a side issue to the plot. Here, what matters is the fact
that a character can become what he would normally fight against and when
this happens why should we expect a happy ending. I can see from this
debut that we can expect to see some real quality product from Suburban
Films. Just a note on the music. I appreciate "Adagio for
Strings" by Barber. When I have a choice in my job it is often a
piece that I will play. To have it playing all the way through the film
seems a bit excessive though. I have read a number of reviewers and there
have been comments on TPL lately slamming the use of image and sound files
in virtual films. The purist approach to script presentation is not
something I go along with. One reviewer said something along the lines of
"this shows a lack of writing skills - when an image is used instead
of words". But "a picture paints a thousand words". If you
take a look at how the Stars are awarded for these reviews you will notice
that the extra effort of music, images and other extras is rewarded. I for
one appreciate the effort that goes into creating something like
"Last Temptation of Beth", for example, it is puerile just to
dismiss this as an excuse for the author to scan the net looking for adult
images. The format we are using to deliver our products is opening up to
new innovations all the time and I am very pleased to see this being
exploited and continue to encourage it. But when it is used I also
appreciate a little variation.
First of all, let me thank you for taking the time to read and review what is my very first VP film. A lot of hard work went into it, and I sincerely appreciate the feedback. I enjoy the opportunity to respond to reasoned critiques of anything I write, and I appreciate a review column that doesn’t “dumb-down” its opinions. Fair warning to readers: while I don’t give away the ending or any plot twists, I allude to several specifics that might prematurely give away some plot twists as you read the movie.
Eight years ago, Michael Stevens(Vaughn) witnessed the bombing of an abortion clinic where his fiancee worked and was killed. Now he works for the FBI, is married to his fiancée’s best friend(Watson), but is still haunted by the explosion. Consequently, when his supervisor(Hall) gives him the opportunity to hunt down right-wing terrorists, Stevens jumps at the chance. Four deaths later, the real plan and the final target are revealed.
Nice synopsis. It does a nice job of explaining the linear story line, although it does not touch on the underlying plot elements, which I feel are so important to the film. Mainly, there is a serious conspiracy taking place throughout the film, involving the reader before it does the protagonist.
Blurred is a film that gets a group of people squarely in its sights and attacks them fiercely. This group is, obviously, right-wing extremists. There is no doubt that these type of people exist and that they are “bad”.
I have been asked why I chose to focus on militant right-wing extremists for my film. In my opinion, they are last great un-mined vein of villainy that is available to story-tellers. I guess what I wanted to do and probably failed to do, is paint ALL militant extremists as bad, regardless of their politics. I mostly tried to touch on right-wing militant “themes” in this film, because as you will find out, there really aren’t any right-wing militant extremists in the film at all. Sure there are conservative/reactionary characters, but the right-wing terrorist bit is mostly a decoy used by Cliff Howard (Phillip Baker Hall).
However, Blurred portrayal
of them is weak mostly because the film paints them is pure evil. Swain
especially is a very
I agree with you completely
here. Swain is completely over the top. I probably should have cut the
scene where he was with that hooker, but I decided I would leave it on,
because Swain wouldn’t be the first character, in fiction or real-life,
whose sexual appetite got the best of him. I disagree about your assertion
that he could not be real, though, because there have been countless
political and religious leaders that turned out to be truly horrible human
beings when it was all said and done. The weakest point of the film
though, in my opinion, is that Swain is such a viable political
presidential candidate. This country would never let someone like this
even sniff the White House. For that reason, I set the story in 2003,
Another problem I have with the characters of Blurred is that the development of Stevens is not very well done or complete. He does not gradually change but instead makes radical jumps from cold-blooded killer to reluctant pawn.
Again I agree. This was a difficult plot element to pull off. I think if I had 90 pages instead of 45, I would have had more opportunity to flesh out Stevens’ transition. In spite of that, I tried to emphasize his mental state through the several dream sequences that I included. If I had to go back and write it all over again (yeah, right), I think I would take more time with Stevens, maybe do some voice overs, ala “The Thin Red Line”, really try to get the audience into his head.
All the above being said,
Blurred does have some good qualities. The plot, while not very original,
does flow nicely though
Thanks, I appreciate that. I would like to point out that I went out of my way to try and make this movie fairly original. While it is probably derivative in some respects, I would like to think it doesn’t pander to the audience, but instead keeps them thinking. I think the plot starts slowly as well. I was actually trying to do a little character development while setting up the story, although I might not have done such a hot job.
Blurred is not a very
happy film. Nearly everyone in the film has major problems or is a
somewhat evil person. I could not
Blurred is not happy, that is for sure. I wanted to stay away from the Hollywood-style endings with this one, and I think I achieved this. In my opinion, there was one sympathetic character and that was Janice, Michael Stevens’ wife (played by Emily Watson). She is a strong character whose only flaw is that she is deeply in love with an emotionally crippled man.
In conclusion, Blurred is
a film that showed lots of promise but only delivered on some of it. Its
over the top characters
Of course, my heart sank
when I read this part of your review. It’s so hard, after putting so
much work into a film, hearing someone say no more than decent. I don’t
fault you for it, because you are the reviewer and this is your job and I
am interested in this type of constructive feedback. At the same time,
everyone wants his creative works to gain critical acceptance and when it
doesn’t, it is a huge downer. This is why I gave up reviewing, not
because there is anything wrong with it, but I just didn’t have the
heart to tell producers that I didn’t think much of their films. On the
flip side, we NEED people who can do that, so I’ll stop crying now and
thank you for giving me the opportunity to take part in this review. Take
care and good luck with your next film.