Three Excellent Films from a Master Filmmaker
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First, what I wrote about the first collection, because it applies the second and third:
I discovered Mike Leigh through SECRETS AND LIES, which prompted me to watch VERA DRAKE, which has led me to order all three MIKE LEIGH COLLECTIONS. Thus far I am very pleased.
Mike Leigh has observative powers which are rare in anyone. He can take something apart, put it back together, make you see it in a new way, and perhaps not even let you know what he's done until two hours after the movie's over. You get so wrapped up in his oh-so-real characterizations and organically unfolding plots that you forget. You and your partner are still talking about it after it's over.
Observing the broad sweeping things people do is difficult, but artists do it. But to also capture the minutiae is a Mike Leigh trademark. Watching these traits large and small feed off each other to create a sum greater than its parts is a true joy.
Mike Leigh has the ability to present things in movies that could be presented in novels, for example, but not as well. He's a master of the medium.
In all Mike Leigh films, I suggest not reading the DVD jacket or any plot summary. They give away his spoilers. Trust, watch, and enjoy.
And now for the specifics:
Bleak Moments - 1971, 110 minutes, the oldest Mike Leigh DVD in my house, and the sound quality is a crime. What Mike Leigh does is to paint a picture of Britain that's every bit as bleak as a Lowry cityscape. He actually draws out attention to Lowry in a later film, but here's where it's easiest to actually see. A fine film.
Nuts In May - 1976, 84 minutes. One of the first things I told my wife is that this guy probably writes down snippets of overheard conversation, because the dialogue is like that here. So spot-on realistic. This is probably a brew of his leftovers, and it's an extremely funny film. I love it.
Who's Who - 1978, 75 minutes. He finally turns his oh-so-observant eye to the upper class for yet another fantastic film.