Why sit through two hours of action movie puff when the payoff is about 15 minutes of multi-million exploding car crashes?
Because we think we want Story.When what we want is Thrill. Story is the cover, the rationale. We really just want Mayhem. To see Matt and Bruce and Tom and Mel and Keanu and Daniel Craig thrown out of cars and tall buildings and explosions.
This is Jacob Bricca‘s Pure, which was invited to the 2009 Berlin International FIlm Festival. It’s 3.5 minutes of pure adrenalin rush, backed up with a minute worth of credits.
The movies: Armageddon, The Italian Job, the Bourne films, the Lethal Weapons, Bullitt, The Departed, Goodfellas, the Die Hards, Mad Max, Dirty Harry, The French Connection, The Fugitive, Terminators, Heat, Speed and umpteen more. Just getting permissions would have kept his seven man research team fully occupied.
The cast is stellar of course: Harrison and Bruce and Tom, Mel and Arnold and Denzel, Matt and Keanu and Vin, Mark Wahlenberg, Terence Stamp, Al Pacino, Nick Cage, Lawrence Fishburne etc etc.
The cliches. Or, politely, the tropes. This is the point. As Bricca puts it: “A meditation on violence and visual tropes at the movies, Pure celebrates the visceral pleasures of cinema. Music by The Jesus Lizard. Please play full screen with headphones at top volume!” He’s right — The Jesus Lizard is ferocious.
In order of presentation I ticked off:
The turning of the face to camera (introducing the protagonist)
> Foot chase
> Silent, menacing forward walk/march
> Stair chase
> Punch up
> Drawing guns/s
> Inching forward with gun/s
> Car chase with subsets: Minis, and being chased by helicopter
> Jumping off high places — into water
> Boat/jet ski chase
> Flipping cars
> Crashing cars (often into liquid containers)
> Innocent cars being shoved into extreme negation
> Cars in motion, exploding (also trains and choppers)
> Explosions, crashes, sliding debris
> Close ups of faces grimacing or screaming
> Bodies being shot up in slomo ballet
> Faces of heroes, bloodied but unbeaten, rising from the rubble
So, you see it really is a meditation genre, violence and their tropes …