Gena does it again!!
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The powerful novel written by 16-year-old John Kennedy Toole is brought to life in this likewise powerful movie about the life of a dysfunctional family in a small southern town during World War II. The focus of the story is shifted from the novel's young boy to the character of Aunt Mae, played by the inimitable Gena Rowlands, in an acting tour de force - ably supported by a cast of accomplished actors. The cinematography and editing are appropriately discomforting, making for an impact akin to an unexpected back-of-the-hand slap across the face. You won't be the same for a long time after seeing this one!"
Hell hath no fury like growing up in the south
(5 out of 5 stars)
"God will save us all, if you want to be saved. The Neon Bible is an excellent rendition of what it is like to be taken to the tent for salvation. Growing up in an environment as this movie depicts will tell you why you might want to kill those who come to save you. Save you from what???? The acting was right on, this folks, is how it is in the backwoods, not only then but now. I felt like I was back home and glad I ran like hell. sorry! The young boy could have gone on to be a serial killer, who knows. Blood is thicker than water. I loved this film. It's bold, dark colors. It may seem slow to some but hit right home with me. Thank you Jesus!!!!"
Uniquely filmed and directed "painting" of life in the rural
KerrLines | Baltimore,MD | 07/06/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"let's start with something right off: Terrence Davies films are unique in the movie world.With that said...
THE NEON BIBLE is a thoughtful and artistically designed masterpiece depicting the memories of 15-year old David as he chooses to leave his 1940's Southern Tennessee home bound for anywhere, but not for home again.As Danny rides the train to nowhere, he remembers all of the essential events from childhood to the present day; a brutal Father, a doormat Mother, a flamboyant Aunt May,and Salvation tent meetings. Mostly, though, he recalls the hypocrisy and stifling atmosphere of fear that kept people in uniformity.
Terence Davies is a filmmaker who paints feelings . His films are so deliberate and intentional. Each shot serenely flows into the next. You can actually discuss his techniques while watching the film. He places certain songs intentionally to tell the feelings of people all the while showing the action. He centers the camera squarely on his subjects, yet shoots them from a distance keeping a certain detachment. He slowly observes a scene from afar and then creeps up on it to examine it more closely and then passes right by it! It is fascinating to watch!!! Though Davies communicates the story effectively, the techniques used are so unique that it is practically hypnotic. Davies films are to be experienced and I believe a certain mood from the viewer is necessary to truly appreciate his handiwork.THERE IS NO QUICK ACTION IN THIS FILM!!! It is about stillness, emotion and observation. Davies' film are always somewhat autobiographical,so his subjects are specially chosen.VERY PERSONAL!
For other Terence Davies films check out DISTANT VOICES STILL LIVES, THE LONG DAY CLOSES and somewhat THE HOUSE OF MIRTH to see uniquely directed works of art."
A director's style, so unique, so original-glad I saw this
All Red | USA | 03/16/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Wow!!! Have you ever just simply been mesmerized by a film? I was recently introduced to the work of Terence Davies (Distant Voices Still Lives, The House of Mirth,Long Day Closes) and his film editor Charles Rees and cinematographer Michael Coulter (The Bank Job [Theatrical Release],Love Actually (Widescreen Edition),Sense & Sensibility (Special Edition)), and I have to say that this team performs marvels on the screen. As an editor, myself, I found "The Neon Bible" to be so entrancing and artistic of a film, that I almost got lost in the techniques of the production and forgot to pay attention to the story! Not totally true, but this is such unique film-making that in all my years I have never quite had the experience of seeing such a film like it.
"The Neon Bible" is a frank and honest look at one boy's growing up in the Deep South of America in pre and post World War 2. The film begins with David (Jacob Tierney) on a train leaving somewhere and going to somewhere. We don't know. He seems tired,relieved and almost comatose. He stares out the train window into the darkness and the camera transports us back into David's memories like a tranquil reverie of remembrances. Davies and his team lead us quietly, reverentially, almost imperceptibly through David's memories of his outlandish Aunt Mae (Gena Rowlands), his abusive father (Denis Leary), his beaten-down mother (Diana Scarwid) and a host of scenes from a life that had gone on up to this time concerning life in rural Tennessee. We are taken as silent observers into Evangelistic Tent Meetings, into private intimate conversations with Aunt Mae, we witness a husband's abuse of his wife, we observe a seductress (Frances Conroy) yearning for David's young manliness, and we feel the touch of a girl's hand as she and David kiss for the first time. These are everyday events that Davies quietly allows us to be partakers as Michael Coulter creeps in and out of each scene with an incredibly smooth camera and Charles Rees seamlessly dissolves each memory into the next!!! This is an exciting and artistic way in which to film this story which comes from John Kennedy Toole's novel. Very few directors attempt or successfully are able to film inner thought and observation well. Davies and his team are absolute masters, and "The Neon Bible", in a very deliberate 93 minutes, managed to transfix me and transcend time and space in a way quite like I have never seen before. I watched this film through three times before writing this review. It is a marvel of sensitivity and artistic competence. This is a contemplative film, not car chasing "entertainment." I highly endorse this film for someone who thoroughly admires detail and technique from a production standpoint. All acting is beyond superlative. The story is flawless. This would be a true film for one who appreciates the complete art of film making. It is a tough thing to do, but Terence Davies (who is now Knighted for his contribution to British Film!),Charles Rees and Michael Coulter who between them all have garnered so many wins and nominations around the world, make it look so easy. What a pleasure to be in the hands of masters!"