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All I See Is You

Only The Brave

October 26, 2017

All I See is You (* ½) R

Director Marc Foster’s failed attempt at a mystery-thriller, All I See is You, is the kind of film that will only appeal to those who crave ambiguousness in what they seek out. It’s being billed as an ‘obsessive love story’ but this is a film that offers nearly ninety minutes of setup but also offers no payoff. And when I say no payoff I absolutely mean none. It’s the kind of thing that gives art house films a bad name and certainly won’t do any favors for mainstream audiences who are enticed to try something a bit different.

The film’s premise is an intriguing one to be sure. Gina (Blake Lively) is a woman who was blinded many years earlier as a result of a car accident, which also took the lives of her parents. Her husband, James (Jason Clarke) is in the insurance business and his job has taken him to Thailand where the couple appears to have a happy existence, at least on the surface. Gina’s dependence on James, due to her lack of sight, seems to sit well with James who apparently has somewhat of a dominating personality. They spend most of their time having steamy sex and sharing home cooked gourmet meals. 

The life that the two of them have shared is turned topsy turvy when Gina is offered the opportunity to have her sight restored. The fact that this movie posits that Thailand is on the cutting edge of technology in terms of restoring eyesight to the blind is a bit of a stretch but not the only one by any means.

Jason Clarke & Blake Lively in All I See Is You

Once Gina’s eyesight is restored and Jason begins to lose control the movie feels as if it’s heading into interesting territory. Gina starts dressing differently and gaining some independence, which doesn’t sit well with her husband. Then suddenly she begins to lose her eyesight again. Is Jason the culprit or is it just that Gina’s body is rejecting her corneal transplant? Questions are raised but no answers are offered leading to frustration on the part of the viewer.

Technically, All I See Is You is well done and there were some directorial flourishes, courtesy of Foster’s artsy helming of the picture, that I admired. Unfortunately, what starts out promising and raises many questions along the way disappoints with its inability to resolve absolutely anything. It’s a shame that Foster and his co-screenwriter, Sean Conway, were ultimately too lazy to point the way out of the corner into which they thrust the viewer. 

Only the Brave (**)  PG-13  

The tragic story of a an Arizona unit of local firemen known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots serves as the basis for the cinematic recounting of their story in Only the Brave.

Now I don’t have to tell you that this isn’t the first film to be dedicated to the lives of those unsung heroes who put out fires for a living. What sets it apart, however, is that it may be the first film dealing with the dirty business of firefighting that contains very little footage of firemen actually doing what they do best­—putting out fires. For a film that runs nearly two and one-quarter hours, there’s only roughly ten to fifteen minutes of actual screen time depicting these men in the act of tackling the fires, which really surprised me. Call me old school but when I invest time in a film about firemen then the least I expect is to witness firefighters doing their actual job. To say it’s a bit of a cheat is an understatement. 

Since I’ve established that this film about firemen doesn’t contain a lot of insights into how these men actually do their jobs then you may be asking yourself the obvious question, what this movie is actually about?

Well, one answer would be that it’s full of the sort of melodrama found on daytime soaps and that’s what fills the bulk of the running time. Only the Brave is crammed with enough stock characters and clichéd situations to give even the most stereotypical disaster film a run for its money.

Miles Teller & Taylor Kitsch in Only The Brave

Even though it doesn’t devote much screen time to scenes of the destructive nature of fire it does manage to find time to allow star Jeff Bridges to belt out a tune which might be categorized as some sort of bait and switch scheme in some viewer’s eyes.   

There isn’t a character in the film that feels like a real human being, most resemble caricatures instead. They feel as if they were conjured up by someone who has spent a lifetime honing the lessons found in the legendary screenwriting guru Syd Fields’ series of screenwriting manuals, meaning that they have as much resemblance to the real world as Avatar did.    

For example, there’s the superintendent, played by Josh Brolin, whose wife (Jennifer Connelly) wants a baby and a husband who loves her more than his job. There’s also the perpetual screw up turned firefighter (Miles Teller) who decides to straighten up and fly right after his daughter is born. Then there’s the man at the top (Jeff Bridges) who loves them all like his own children and knows the risks they face, being the grizzled veteran that he is. You get the point.     

The most amazing thing about Only The Brave is how it manages to take such an interesting subject and turn it into such a bland and banal film experience. I wanted more and expected more. These brave men who lost their lives deserve better. 

At press time, Only The Brave is scheduled to play in Hickory and around the area. All I See Is You is playing in Charlotte.

Questions or comments? Write Adam at filmfan1970@hotmail.com.

 

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