My latest Sympatico/MSN DVD column is up, focusing on two of last year’s best movies, “Gone Baby Gone” and “We Own the Night”.
Both movies reach back to the classical/procedural mode of Sidney Lumet’s great ’70s crime dramas; one thing that consistently bugged me about the response to Lumet’s “Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead” last fall was that people seemed to be willing to overlook the indulgence of actors and clumsy storytelling that have distinguished most of Lumet’s output since the mid-1980s because it had strong performances and a showy, chronologically fractured narrative.
“Lumet is back!” No, not really; he’s more or less where he was three or four movies ago, but this time he had Philip Seymour Hoffman, and therefore buzz.
But it seems to me that “We Own the Night” does most of that stuff with much more skill; thus, it was a far better Lumet movie than the one Lumet actually made, and no one paid it any attention.
Maybe it should have played the Toronto film festival.
Also, “Gone Baby Gone”? Wicked strong.