Saturday, 28 September 2013

Rush and the rise of biographies

Biographical films have got a bit of a hit and miss reputation. They range from the great, like Amadeus and The Elephant Man (two of my personal favourites), the likes of the new Diana film, which The Guardian has called "car crash cinema" (maybe one of the worst puns ever).

One of the best tactics used by movie makers is to just employ a small amount of of their subjects life, like in our latest reviewed film Rush, directed by Ron Howard. Telling the tale of James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), it focuses on their rivalry between 1970 and 1976. It's the most interesting part, so why pad it out with their childhoods, or their old age. 

The reason to make biographical films is to inspire courageousness, warn you against their follies, or to describe the mindset of a period through a particular person. When a film is done for vanity, it always fails. So, in honour of Rush, here are some of my favourite biographical films.

Catch Me If You Can, directed by Steven Speilberg, tells the tale of young Frank Abagnale (Leonardo DiCaprio) , who became so good at check fraud that the FBI eventually had to seek help from him for their cases. I remember leaving the cinema thinking I must learn as much as I can because the knowledge to pull of this kind of stuff must of been immense...

Caravaggio, directed by Derek Jarman, is about the late 16th century artist Caravaggio, an amazing artist with a very intreaging story. Because only sparce amounts are known about his life, especially the end of it where he murdered a man and was found dead on a beach in Tuscany, this film benefits through being liberal in its story telling, creating an essence of Caravaggio.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, directed by Terry Gilliam, is based on the roman a clef by Hunter S. Thompson. Accused of glorifying drugs, Fear and Loathing is rather an experiment to find out why America has lost its way, during the one period after the Second World War that America became more violent. Also, its endlessly quotable. 

So, do you have any favourite biographies? Let us know in the comments. Listen to our review for Rush through Podbean and the link below, or through iTunes, where if you leave us a comment and five stars you could win a blueray. Read Richee's post for more details.


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