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Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Review: MILK


My name is Mark Donica and I want to recruit you.

I want to recruit you to see this film. As a Californian, this movie hits close to home. As a human being, this movie will pull at your heartstrings.



This movie is a bio-pic on member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors Harvey Milk, who was the first openly gay man to be elected to public office. It starts at a point in his life where he wants to be proud of what he does as well as at the time when the attack on homosexuality in America started approaching it's first pique. One of the greatest things that this movie did was its mixing of real footage from the news and shot footage. There were times where the only way to tell that it was shot footage was to see the actors.

One of my favorite aspects of a bio-pic is that it does not set out to tell you how to think as well as not villifying the negative people in the persons life to enhance the story. This film is filled with people in Harvey's life that were so important not only to his campaign, his movement, but to him. His story is told with the utmost respect to those involved, especially Josh Brolin who plays Dan White (another member of the SFBoS).

This movie starts out with a news report that San Francisco Mayor George Moscone and City Supervisor Harvey Milk have been shot and killed. After this, we see Milk at a table with a tape recorder, telling his story to a microphone. Harvey actually did this as a result of a growing number of death threats that he had been receiving. Knowing that he was going to be shot heightened the drama considerably as they showed a few of the threats reaching him. The characterization of Milk that Sean Penn provided makes it impossible to not fall in love with this man. He takes himself both very seriously and very lightly. I felt like I really got to know the man and because of what's going on in California today felt a real connection, it was amazing.

The mix of real footage, shot footage and different visual sequences gives it a very unique feel. Gus Van Sant definitely made his presence felt with one particular sequence that involved one person calling another and then it gets into a huge Brady Bunchy situations with tons of people trying to get a message out. Also, the use of music at certain times and utter silence at other times adds more to the drama in a way that made it invoke certain feelings. I am not ashamed to say that I cried during this movie. Personally I don't know how one can't feel emotional while watching Milk, but if you couldn't from this review that I loved this film, I will tell you right now. I love this film and it deserves every nomination that it has gotten and will get.

This movie tells of how one man can make a difference. Now by no means did Harvey Milk do this by himself and if he were alive today I believe he wouldn't want it to be remembered like that. His main friends and supporters are still working for fair treatment of homosexuals as well as those who are living with HIV and AIDS today. Everyone's performances were admirable and never stereotypical. This movie definitely goes on my list of my favorites for all time. I have not felt this connected to a film and affected by a film in a very long time and I hope the same goes for all who have seen it and will see it. Please, see it.

5 stars

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You haven't truly seen Milk till you see it at the Castro Theater in San Francisco and have a hot cookie (cookie shop right by the Castro Theater) after it.

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