Wednesday, April 29, 2009

UNHOLY TRINITY: Trial and Errors!

Hello fellow freeks!

Whoever said three is a crowd, never ever chanced upon an installment of this blog's popular feature.....

UNHOLY TRINITY!: Trial and Errors!:

While our beleagured, beloved (you get the point) city of Mumbai, awaits the trial proceedings to decide the fate a certain Mr. Kasab
who like other callous individuals before him, had tried to rip apart the complex fabric that is our city, and while it is far from this FrEEk to pass judgment on the actual need for said trial; join the FrEEk in sampling for yourself in some celluloid's finest attempts to portray trials and proceedings in court!

Trial No 1: Judgement at Nuremberg:

Based on the true life Kaztzenberger trial and featuring a stellar cast including Spencer Tracy, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland and directed by Stanley Kramer managed to intersperse the terse proceedings of the Nuremberg Trials with that of the no-less charismatic Katzenberger case.
The movie takes a fictionalised view of the trial of three judges at Nuremberg having been alleged of delivering judgements leading to mass genocides during the second world war. What is especially of note is that the script does scamper down the easy path of glorifying the misdeeds of the judges - rather it plays along much rather like a real trial would. The defense attorney played by Maximillian Schell (in an oscar-winning role) uses such diverse evidence such as studies conducted by American universities supporting eugenics ( and therefore genocide) and even audio clippings of Winston Churchill praising the methods of Adolf Hitler.

The prosecuting attorney played effectively by Richard Wildmark as an effective counter-punch shows in court footage of the corpses of the victims at various Nazi Concentration camps (what is significant to note is that this is the first time that this footage was released on a cinematic medium for audiences anywhere, and one can well imagine the impact that such visuals carried).

The movie, ends with a brilliant testimony by one of the convicted judges - Danning played by Burt Lancaster - where he admits upon his guilt but not before throwing in perspective the reason that he and the other convicted judges chose their horrendous path of action. You can check out Lancaster's testimony scene below:

Trial No. 2: 12 Angry Men

What sets this apart this brilliant legal drama, is that while the movie revolves around the trial of a teen charged with the brutal killing of his father; the viewer never steps into the actual trial proceedings and is in fact ushered into the jury room - where the 12 diverse (in though, mind and action) jurors debate the guilt/innocence of the accused. What starts out as an seemingly easy verdict given the damning evidence against the accused, turns into a murkier tales of morals, misgivings when Juror # 8 (played superbly by Henry Fonda) attempts to convince the rest of the jurors about the possible innocence of the accused. What follows then is an epic battle of logic, empathy, bigotry (and all other mental maraudery that you can imagine) where one by one he attempts to have the jurors to deliver...or at least consider delivering a "not-guilty" verdict, until....(you'll have to watch it yourself!!)
The movie most effective thrives on its claustrophobic setting (yes it is shot in just the one room!) and establishes that the outcome of a legal trial rests not in damning evidence or the slick statements of the lawyers; but in the mind of the juror who for that all-too brief period plays God for the accused on trial.
A copy of this movie rests in the United States Congress building; and perhaps one should be resting in your DVD player...right now!!

TRIAL No. 3: M

Of all the trial movies that celluloid has ever churned out, M directed by legendary German Director Fritz Lang; stands out as perhaps the FrEEkiest take on the legal process.

Directed in 1931, M may perhaps be considered of latter-day crime thrillers such as Seven or even Primal Fear in its spine chilling tale of a un-named psycho (later referred to as M in the movie) in Dusseldorf who preys upon unsuspecting girls left upon by their parents to play in the neighbourhood park. luring them by offering to buy them balloons from a blind balloon seller, before committing his ghastly deeds.
Lang's bleak lightning and the repetitive usage of the musical theme "Le Hallen du Roi de la Montagne" in no small way complement this dystopian tale. In a spine-freeking twist of events, it is the criminal element of Dussledorf, threatened by the beefed-up attempts of the police force to stop this pyschopath decide to take matters in their own hands, and arrange for a trial of M, a trial by you guessed it; the criminals themselves! In a celluloid blazing performance Peter Lorre's depicts the haplessness of a man driven by the urges of his distended mind to perform unpoken deeds. Watch then as Lorre's "M" tries to convince his "jury" of his inability to contain his ghastly urges!

So there you have it folks, three varied masterpieces, from varying times that till date stand the trials (yes, pun intended!) and tests of time!!

extra freeky: does the above pictured gentleman, really need a trial?

Monday, April 6, 2009


Hellos my freeky fellows! and sincerest apologies for this long-in-the-coming (no sexual pun intended) post!
and so to make amends, we feast our scaly gaze on another long-in-the-coming extravaganza, more specifically the cinematic adaptation of what many call the Greatest Graphic Novel (yes, the cool term for comic book) ever....Alan Moore's : THE WATCHMEN!

Set in a bleak 1980s, where the cold war rages on, and Nixon has been elected president of the US, for a fourth consecutive term, the WATCHMEN to a regular comic book, is to compare a Pinto to a Bentley!. sure there are costumed superheros, plot twists and action galore, but the Watchmen deals with far complex issues including the debate over a policed yet content totalitarian society vs. a democratic yet chaotic one; the inherent human need for paranoia, as well as the great power that great responsibility brings. (whew!)
While the novel itself gained cult status; check out the Peanuts tribute above, hell even the Simspons, paid homage to this graphic behemoth.

All this, while lesser heroes in spandex took their shots at the box office (hey, the FANTASTIC FOUR had a sequel even!), all this until Zack "300" Snyder let the world know that it was he, who would bring this masterpiece to the silver screen!! ( yourself a favour, and click on "know"!...NOW!). And then after much internet fuelled casting rumours, a legal disupte and a Hollywood strike later..the world could finally watch..THE WATCHMEN!! (freeking click on the title already!)

The movie, to its credit stays true to the nuances of the novel, add to it; a bleak colour palette, some splendid performances by the cast; including a great voiceover by Billy Crudup as Dr. Manhattan.

Snyder, even manages to sneak in a few extras for the discerning freek, check out the number of the hotel room where, the Comedian (yes, that's a superhero) is murdered....spoiler: (it's 300!) or the scene where a giant Dr. Manhattan sets out to destroy a Vietnam village; in an no uncertain tribute to this classic scene here!

All in all, THE WATCHMEN, without giving away the plotlines, can be said to be true to its source form, and manages to retain viewer interest, quite a mean feat for a superhero movie, that strays away from usual superhero vs. supervillain formula,

so, what are you waiting for, go on, watch....THE WATCHMEN!

Extra Freeky: The greatest graphic novel, in the FREEK's humble opinion is this


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