Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Mr and Mrs Smith


I watched Mr and Mrs Smith tonight. You know, the movie that brought us Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie as a couple.

Or was there an earlier movie that did that, and I am behind the eight ball?

Dunno. Doesn't matter.

What matters, if anything does, is I want to know what you think of this movie.

I'm still trying to decide what I think of it. I mean, two hours of gratuitous violence and B&A slapping each other around and shooting at each other and creating serious mayhem for each other (not even mentioning the mayhem involving other people) has pretty much left me feeling . . . confused.

I know it's not supposed to be a cinematographic masterpiece, a deep literary work brought to the silver screen, etc etc etc.

But . . .would you call it a "relationship movie?"

In fact that's what seems to be the topic for discussion here. Amid the shooting and arguing and killing and whatnot -- there is a lot of coming to terms with what they expect out of marriage and what they've put into it -- which for "five or six years" (to quote Brad's John Smith character) is, frankly, not much.

And yes, I know it's not supposed to be "reality" based. I know it's action-adventure, tongue-in-cheek and all that.

But it purports, beneath the mayhem, to propose some thought-provoking questions about marriage and relationships -- questions we who deal with writing romance also tackle. Questions worth pondering and indeed writing books and making movies about.

And yet . . .

Besides those thought provoking questions there are all those kicks and punches and slaps and gunshots and bombs and such directed at each other as much as anyone else.

And where does all this on screen violence between this maried couple lead?

To sex.

Of course.

And that's one of the places in the film where I find myself wondering what the heck message they are sending here.

On the one hand they are making a very intriguing sort of 'let's discuss our relationship and telling each other the truth and finding the heart of our connection" here film set against a backdrop of over-the-top fantasy violence. Fair enough. The juxtaposition makes for interesting scenes and fun film-making.

And yet, at the same time, I couldn't get away from the notion that they were at the same time selling this violence as foreplay for sexual gratification.

And while the murder and mayhem that was over the top didn't bother me, the kicks and punches did.

That's why the jury is still out at our house.

Maybe I should just stop trying to understand what any film is 'trying to say' and just appreciate it for what it does provide. In this case, Brad Pitt.

What do you think?

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