Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Finding Death

Author(s): Bryce M.
Location: CA

"Finding Death"

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola
Written by: Francis Ford Coppola
Produced by: Francis Ford Coppola, Brad Grey, and Graham King

Main Cast

Brad Pitt as James Renageric
Gary Oldman as Shinigami
Ray Liotta as Alfred Pennasworth
Edward Burns Richard Renageric
Terry O'Quinn as Josh Stable
Denis Leary as Jake Sharm
James Spader as Brian Gaem
Samantha Morton as Chelsea Renageric

Tagline: "How do you find what can not be found?"

Synopsis: In the city of Los Angeles, Richard Renegeric and Alfred Pennasworth are running against each other for mayor. Unfortunately for Pennasworth, Renegeric is the clear favorite to win by the public and his peers. However, Pennasworth has one last trick up his sleeve. As the day turns into night, Richard is getting ready for bed in his hotel room when there is a subtle knock on the door. Richard opens the door to find a bald man, with a vast variety of scars on his face, known as Shinigami. Before Richard can even think of what to do, Shinigami takes out a dart gun, and shoots Richard with a dart. As Richard takes out the dart, he begins foaming from his mouth, bleeding from his eyes, and urinating on himself, before collapsing dead on the floor. Shinigami walks away with an eerily emotionless expression on his face. The following week Alfred Pennasworth wins the election and becomes the new mayor

Four years later, the case of who killed Richard Renegeric has been put away. In the past four years police have not found a single shred of evidence. Every detective on the case has given up, except for Richard's brother James Renegeric. Even though James has not given up on the case, the consequences of his decision has effected his life greatly over the past years. He has been fired, and has lost his wife, Chelsea. But these inconveniences doesn't bother James, because all he cares for in life is to find the person who killed his brother. The only possible evidence James has is his theory that his brother was killed by another politician. He is certain Alfred Pennasworth must of hired a hitman to kill his competition.

Alfred Pennasworth has an upcoming election, and is going against three other candidates, including the war veteran Josh Stable, the media favorite Jake Sharm, and the proclaimed genius Brian Gaem. James comes up with the idea that if he follows the other candidates he will find his brother's killer. However, he will find out that's easier said then done. As James tries to protect the candidates and pursue the hitman, Shinigami proves to be much more than James can handle. Will James be killed by the mysterious man only known by the alias of "Shinigami"? Or will James prevail in getting his revenge, and killing his brother's killer?

What the Press would say:

What more can be said about Francis Ford Coppola? He has done The Godfather, The Godfather Part II, and Apocalypse Now, three films known as the greatest of all time. "Finding Death" definitely doesn't surpass any of those three films, and I wouldn't even put this film in the same league as the others. However, just like Martin Scorsese's "The Departed", a film that may not be as great as his other films like "Raging Bull", "Taxi Driver", and "Goodfellas" but still holds up as another one of his masterpieces, "Finding Death" is another masterpiece from Francis Ford Coppola, and will age like fine wine until it gets to the point of being a legendary movie like Coppola's past films.

The film's style is a mixture of Noir and thrilling suspense, and never proves to be more of one then the other. The suspense will have you jumping more than a good horror flick, and the atmosphere is unique enough to put the film in it's own genre. The dialogue is diverse, never staying in one rhythm, and that helps separate the characters from being ordinary. Whether it's the aggressive hip wannabe dialogue of James Renergeric, or the off beat metaphor antics of Shinigami, the dialogue proves to have a good pace and makes each character feel different. The characters themselves are intriguing enough to either love or hate them. You'll be attacking the ones you hate, and defending the ones you love.

You would have to get a good group of actors to portray these characters, and luckily for Coppola he was fortunate enough to get some grade A acting from his players. Brad Pitt once again proves his commitment to the art side of films with this tragic character. The character is engulfed in an obsessive need to find the killer to a point where the character appears more emotionally scared than the antagonist's physical scars. The performance has the rage of his performance in "Seven", but with the paranoia of Jesse James and the emotion of his character in "Babel". It's definitely one of his best performance, if not the best. Ray Liotta also does an amazing job as the villainous mayor, whose fears of losing power manipulates his every action. There is also a few show stealing scenes from Terry O'Quinn's character, who proves to be a lot harder to kill than the other politicians.

But, the true show stealer here is Gary Oldman, who plays the infamous Shinigami, a character that will likely be remembered as one of the best villains to grace the screens since Hannible Lector. Oldman fits into this role like a good pair of shoes. The makeup department did a great job in physically transforming this actor into an entirely different person. What makes the performance even more incredible, is how Oldman is able to mix different ethnic traits. He mixes between a German and France accent, and also recites many Japanese haikus and folklore (which would explain his name since Shinigami means God of Death in Japanese folklore) when speaking, although he barely speaks for the majority of his screen time. There's nothing more I can say, because it is truly a performance you have to see to believe, but I guarantee he will be the character that everyone will be remembering by the end of the year.

Francis Ford Coppola has put a lot of work into the film, and it definitely shows. Youth Without Youth was Coppola return to filmmaking, but the movie proved to not live up to expectations. This movie will live up and surpass most expectations, and will prove to be entertaining to the art house audience as well as the average moviegoer. "Finding Death" is the true return of Francis Ford Coppola, and audiences will fall in love with this film.

Best Picture
Best Director- Francis Ford Coppola
Best Actor- Brad Pitt
Best Supporting Actor- Ray Liotta
Best Supporting Actor- Gary Oldman
Best Supporting Actor- Terry O'Quinn
Best Original Screenplay- Francis Ford Coppola
Best Make Up
Best Cinematography
Best Art Direction
Best Film Editing

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