Saturday, January 24, 2009
Jan.24, 2008 - Righteous Kill
Friday night arrived. A little late as usual. I'd been waiting impatiently for it at the lonely barren station that I'd crawled to through a week of dessert and gun fire. Looking back at the craters of bad news on Thursday it was difficult remembering the glorious canteens and world wide celebrations earlier in the week. But the last 24 hours of my personal life's journey left my throat parched and eyes wide with an old twitch.
Another traveller had told me they had no one as we climbed the last rungs of the week. I looked around at the weary travellers at this depot remembering how high I used to set my sights, how low I'd fallen in the eyes of some. This was no chandeliered waystation. Just a working class dive with fellow aging travellers equally afraid, no one having a monopoly on sickness or age, all of us huddled together for warmth, but still a few haughty and aloof. In the night sky the fireworks of the past were almost pretty when Friday night finally arrived.
She was laughing at my conveyance. Would that I could pick her up in a Lear Jet but the ruckus scooter with little room for gear and two fat old white folk would have to do. Snow and ice on the road, dangerous insane drug addicted Friday night drivers. Every minute of that wild journey home from work a threat to life and limb and testament to fate and God. We'd decided to pool our scant resources for a pizza and a movie.
And there was De Niro. And Al Pacino. The two of those guys together. What could be better on a Friday night. Who cares what the movie is. They're like Jack Nicholson and Robbin Williams. Who cares what city the Bolshoi Ballet is dancing in. It's the Bolshoi so you know it's going to be great even if you have to see them in po dunk Nebraska. I'm going to complain if the Pope holds a mass in Kansas. She's gleeful when I show her the Righteous Kill cover. "De Niro is so sexy," she says, like that's going to influence my choice. "Pacino is a genius, " I say remembering Serpico and Dog Day Afternoon. "I liked him in Scent of a Woman," she responded. She would, I thought.
The underground garage suddenly seemed like the Bat Cave. The pressure of the week of war was literally falling away like overcoats and snakes as I left the baby Honda Batmobile and walked with my personal Nicole Kidman kind of Meryl Streepish friend into the safety of the apartment block. Elevators to the loft, cat meowing greeting. Quick change to sweats. The same guy that ran for days for ice cream for the pharoah has been sent from the pizza place to bring us hot food.
When he arrives the flat screen tv comes alive with Righteous Kill. Almost a James Bond style opening, two guys shooting at the gun range, joking. Cops. Cop world. Testosterone. Manliness. Closed tortuous inner worlds with tenuous promises. Uncertainties and latitudes. But confident. On the outside. And these guys show it all. A facial expression. An eye brow. Years conveyed in a glance. Actors. Who would know. I'm watching two New York cops near retirement. I don't even here the pizza guy. She's handed me pizza that as usual will go in face or on shirt and my eyes won't leave the screen. How did she hear the door bell.
De Niro is talking to the girl. Where do they find these women. Gorgeous Carla Cugino is utterly believable. She works in evidence. Is kinky in a quiet way, the lover of one and desire of the other. Two men and one woman. A background of hoods and cons, dope dealers and killers. A really great bathroom scene with the Trilby Glover as the young lawyer way over her head. It's all rivetting. The suspense is unbearable. The other cops and the baseball games. Images of light and dark flash by in conflict and I can't help but agree with the vigellanteism.
Sure it's a serial murder but one never knows who it is until that Carla looks outside the box. Everyone is being played and yet the play is Shakesperean in it's form something the writer, Russell Gewirtz and director, John Avnet deserve the highest praise for. The cast could make the Muppets into a gangster classic but with the material and direction it's a truly heroic masterpiece. In the end it transcends the Walter Mathau - Jack Lemmon intimacy to touch the Bogart-Rains connection from Cassablanca.
Yet it's a truly postmodern film which somehow makes the greats of the Godfather era somehow seem old. Everything is turned up a notch and twists of plot are jacknife turns. Each killing in its self is a balletic pas de deux.
"I loved it, " she said. "I've always found de Niro so hot." I want to say he's an old guy and Pacino is the star but then there's Carla and those latin cops. "It's all about character. It's a morality play in a way. It's taken Glover and Gibson and added a whole other level of justice. " "I liked the scene with the priest, now that was poetic." she answers.
Yea, I say , and then think, where did the week go?
A couple of hours with these guys, a friday night pizza and a movie with a friend and suddenly it was like we'd passed into another dimension. The weekend was finally here. I wasn't the work guy any more. I was the fun guy. We were relaxed again. "That movie was worth every cent," I said, "A whole lot more." she answered saluting me with her glass of coca cola. "It's finally the weekend. Thank God."