The Morning After: Feb. 22, 2016

Welcome to The Morning After, where I share with you what movies I’ve seen over the past week. Below, you will find short reviews of those movies along with a star rating. Full length reviews may come at a later date.

So, here is what I watched this past week:

Room


Locked in a one-room shed, a mother and son are forced to exist entirely as if the outside world doesn’t exist. Room gives Brie Larson her second greatest role to date as the conflicted mother whose only emotional anchor is her five-year-old son.

Larson’s performance is terrific, though I’ll always be partial to her star-making turn in Short Term 12, which should have brought her her first Oscar nomination. This will suffice and it would be surprising if she didn’t win the Oscar. This has all the joy and tears that the Academy loves to recognize.

Jacob Tremblay gives a strong performance. I’m not sure how much of his ordeal actually clicked for the young mind, but considering the situation, one would hope he doesn’t fully grasp the enormity of the piece. It’s a rich, contextual drama about being locked away both ine your own mind as well as in the life you’ve built for yourself. While some see the simple joys in life, others take them for granted.

Sicario


Emily Blunt delivers a fierce performance as a conflicted FBI agent brought onto a covert CIA operation to disrupt the operation of major Mexican drug cartel leader. Sicario highlights the underhanded work carried out in the name of protecting American citizens from the violence inherent in the illegal drug industry.

Putting forth moral questions about who watches the watchmen and whether their deeds are worth celebrating, director Denis Villeneuve lets the inherent viciousness of the actions taken in the film simmer in the audience’s mind with only slight nudges towards what their opinions should be.

Is the drug war necessary in its current incarnation? Are there solutions beyond what we’re presented? How do you cope with the callous disregard for life on both sides of the war? These questions burn through nearly two hours of searing violent realism, a disturbingly vivid exploration of a war that we seldom see. Perhaps that’s all for good reason?

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