Narration in a Movie

Watched Alfie (Jude Law) today. A light lovely little movie, brilliantly cast, well written and it has some amazing moments. A must see, if you like stuff like ‘a day in the life of’ or ‘lessons from my life’ or say, Amelie.

While the movie was well made (it is a remake of a 1966 Caine movie of the same name), our discussion went to Jude’s acting and whether it will fetch him a Golden Globe nomination – looks like Oscar nominations have all been taken, for those who are wondering, why GG. One never expected Jude to carry the whole movie on his ‘sexiest man alive’ shoulders. It was quite a (close to) brilliant performance, frankly. I feel, he might just get one.

When we like a movie, we always look at what we didn’t like in it or how better it could have been made. Well one thing about Alfie was that most of the scenes are connected by, or have interludes of narration. Basically what the character is thinking. Yes, it works well for this movie, Jude talks to us while in the scene, which is quite interesting. But in general, using VOs is a beginners’ way of making a movie especially when one is doing an adaptation. That’s so easy, isn’t it?

I believe, it is THIS factor that makes the difference between a great movie and a good movie. A great movie is one in which viewers read what’s on the character’s mind and since it is their own (self processed) thought, the viewer gets attached to the character, with the scene and the movie. It is the director’s craft, and one that rises above the script. There are many movies that fall into ‘this’ form of greatness, at least what I call the sense of greatness.

One of the reasons why I would rate Collateral above Alfie. Alfie works equally good as a movie, but from a direction perspective, my vote goes to Michael Mann.