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Chance, chaos and coincidence in three films
December 29, 2011 5:44 AM   Subscribe

A short look at the role of chance, chaos and coincidence in three films: Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, Run Lola Run, and Three Colors: Red.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (20 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
From the Lock Stock part:
"thanks to a poker hand gone bad. Ironically, the outcome of this game of chance is the one vagary of fate in the entire movie for which Lady Luck is least to blame!"
The hand didn't 'go bad' and there was no 'fate'.

"Suffice it to say that the machinations of God"
No, that'll be Guy Ritchie.

Can't see that this adds an iota of value to any deconstruction (and I agree totally with the since deleted comment. I had to paste the text into an editor to read it).
posted by episodic at 6:27 AM on December 29, 2011


For anyone having problems with the font, try this Readability link.
posted by taz at 6:34 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mid to late 90s was probably the golden age of "omg hand of fate/winds of chance" movies. Don't forget Sliding Doors. IMO Red is clearly the high water mark.
posted by nathancaswell at 6:48 AM on December 29, 2011


For my third viewing of "Run Lola, Run", I brought a specially- bought pair of drumsticks to the theater so I could accompany the Techno soundtrack on the seatback ahead of me. I was unpopular.
posted by Hobgoblin at 6:50 AM on December 29, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's kind of too bad that this doesn't mention the huge debt owed to Kieslowski by Tykwer (and not just for Heaven's script). I mean, Lola Rennt was pretty directly inspired by Blind Chance.
posted by hoboynow at 7:14 AM on December 29, 2011


Chance, Chaos, Coincidence.
The mainstays of many a mediocre movie
apologies for the annoying alliterations
consigned to cameo appearances that clean up
revels in chaos and coincidence
All three films ... an auditory and ... although in
such bizarre sights as a bottom-up view of vegetables being dropped into a pan of boiling water;
a wide variety of styles, including freeze frames, split screens and even a dash of animation
the director Tom Tykwer
a variety of visual motifs
classical strains complement the
All in all, three different films in three different languages emphasizing three different facets of the same theme.
deftly titled, sublimely plotted, cockney-crime-comedy debut of director
looking increasingly likely
has since stumbled through the minor missteps of a competent, but inferior, imitation (Snatch)
walking off the cliff with the unseen-by-me but allegedly atrocious, made-for-Madonna stinker "Swept Away".
superstar-singer who can't act.
like a major miracle when the dust settles and the complications dissolve in a logical resolution.
for which Lady Luck is least to
Suffice it to say that the machinations of
without the willingness to
from the clutches of its clueless author.
the coincidence-as-crutch movies?
distinction lies both in the film's intent and in its execution.
deus ex machina exists to resolve complexity
are chance occurrences aplenty
of complications. Critics who complain
is exactly what elevates
in the inherent intelligence of
at the earliest opportunity.
find their fortunes swaying, the fault lies
leaving intact the internal plot logic
picking up such perfectly utilitarian skills as being able to speak
Every time I watch Run Lola Run, I inevitably find myself
decides one day to leave behind his sheep and make his career in poetry.
He sets out for the city and
three different tales of what would have happened had David gone down each of three different paths.
While it would be
not much of a spoiler to state that the story is an ode to determinacy; O. Henry
establish the inevitability of destiny, as David is magnetically
get a-hold of 100,000 marks
What we receive is three alternative versions
event sequences starting out identically but diverging quickly into three different realities
unswayed by the idle efforts
to distract it from its predetermined destination
influential repercussions of the apparently inconsequential.
As exciting as all this thematic structure may be, the real strength of "Run Lola Run" as a movie
As Roger Ebert eloquently
Tom Tykwer ``throws every trick
the explosive energy of the
accomplished musician, composes much of the music for the film,
The song is better than the sequel, although that isn't saying much.
that demands active and attentive watching in order ... all the subtle causal connections among various events.
steeped as the beginning segment is in rhetoric and T. S. Eliot.
ten short films dramatizing the Ten Commandments -- and the Three Colors trilogy, Kieslowski
a unique filmmaking style to his stories, filling them with subtlety and understatement
requiring rigorous intellectual exercise
on the part of the audience in order to understand the filmmaker's intentions.
Consequently, sitting through a Kieslowski
the principles of liberty, equality and fraternity respectively
it is easy enough to play "Spot the Fraternity" with the story.
events in our lives have an extremely low a priori likelihood of unfolding in the exact way
story of "Red" revolves around a
accidentally runs over a dog, resulting in a run-in with a retired judge
a primordial soup for the establishment
to be postulating a deeper statement about patterns repeating
particularly memorable pattern is Valentine's profile (see poster)
then crops up completely unexpectedly in a surprising context.
form the strange attractors of fate.
what right did a story about a bunch of random people, meandering through random
occasionally fantastic, events, have to be this engrossing
then turned to the ever-eloquent Roger Ebert for his take
But even Ebert, usually highly articulate in his film analysis
content to outline his emotional reaction to the film, concluding

MAKE IT STOP

posted by iamkimiam at 7:20 AM on December 29, 2011 [3 favorites]


Wow, check out the hate on these guys!

The hand didn't 'go bad' and there was no 'fate'.

Um, I think that is the point he was making?

MAKE IT STOP

Well, you can stop reading at any time, but instead you've chosen to cut and paste a huge block of text and edit it for maximum irritation / unreadability. Why?
posted by Meatbomb at 8:10 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, it's quite obvious that he's no movie critic. So...how about we discuss something else instead, like Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes movie?

(Personally, I think Ritchie is a master of cinematographic sleight of hand. He loves showing you a card, shuffling back it into the deck and then revealing that it's actually in your pocket and has been there all the time. He did it in Lock, Stock..., then in Snatch, and he does it all the time in Holmes. Pity it's the only trick he seems to know -- I haven't seen his other movies but I'm willing to bet they're more of the same)
posted by daniel_charms at 8:12 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


you can stop reading at any time

I never started. One glance at the page and my eyes are still aching three minutes later. Seriously, in this day and age someone is still trying to be cute and creative with a mix of random colors and unreadable fonts to the point where there's an actual readability link included.
posted by jsavimbi at 8:27 AM on December 29, 2011


I did not like his essay. It did not tell me anything new or suggest any new way of thinking about things I already knew. I don't know why the writer picked those three movies, specifically, or what the point of the essay was. I know what he/She said it was but it wasn't extrapolated on adequately in the body of the text. It left me unsatisfied and wondering if anything could have been done to save it. No, nothing could. I've read much more insightful comments here.
All that said, it's almost never bad to read someone face-planting. Not just for the schadenfreude, but to remind me to keep my own words tight. So there's that.
posted by From Bklyn at 8:29 AM on December 29, 2011


jsavimbi: Note, though, that this piece is quite old. His whole site was last updated in 2005, so it's hardly "this day and age".
posted by daniel_charms at 8:34 AM on December 29, 2011


I don't know why the writer picked those three movies, specifically, or what the point of the essay was.

My guess is, he picked these movies because he liked them and the point of the essay is to try and (fail to, at least without Ebert's help) explain why he liked them.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:37 AM on December 29, 2011


Was it updated or something? I don't see anything terrible with the readability in Chrome. Maybe the font is a little iffy, and dark grey on light grey isn't the best for contrast, but it's not like it's green on black or something.
posted by smackfu at 8:38 AM on December 29, 2011


May I introduce you formatting complainers to my everyday friend, Lynx? It was a perfectly readable article for me using my default browser.

Given that I loved the first two movies he covers, I'm going to be looking for Red.

I hadn't noticed the Zorba the Greek bit in Lock Stock myself, so I learned two things today.
posted by nomisxid at 8:56 AM on December 29, 2011


The hand didn't 'go bad' and there was no 'fate'.

The hand went bad enough--there was cheating, but ultimately Hatchet Harry's cards were better. If chance had given what's-his-face the better hand, there would have been no loan and no debt. Unless I'm missing something...
posted by Hoopo at 9:18 AM on December 29, 2011


The hand went bad enough--there was cheating, but ultimately Hatchet Harry's cards were better. If chance had given what's-his-face the better hand, there would have been no loan and no debt. Unless I'm missing something...

I think the point is that we see the hand that caused the destruction. But even if that hand went another way, it would have only been a matter of time before the same result was achieved. Eddy was too bold. Harry knew it. The cheating was just an easy way to take all his money in a short amount of time.
posted by Sandor Clegane at 9:31 AM on December 29, 2011


I'm going to be looking for Red.

Do make sure you watch all three. Blue is chilly, White is silly, but Red ties them up with élan.
posted by psoas at 10:32 AM on December 29, 2011


"Well, you can stop reading at any time, but instead you've chosen to cut and paste a huge block of text and edit it for maximum irritation / unreadability. Why?"

I extracted out all unapolegtic annoying alliterations of our author's undoing, leaving little of the original litany.
posted by iamkimiam at 11:17 AM on December 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


"We steal cars, rob post offices. What the fook do we know about antiques?"
posted by Brocktoon at 12:29 PM on December 29, 2011


Really, same deal with Raiders of the Lost Arc. Indiana Jones runs about quite a bit. Doesn't accomplish much. The Nazis get the arc.
Of course, God just smites them. So, pretty much the same arguments against that kind of form here.

Still a fun movie.

Richie's a bit more like watching a Rube Goldberg machine.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:02 PM on December 29, 2011


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