Best Picture Reviews: Out Of Africa

out-of-africa

I’m not sure what people mean when they say the 80’s were weak when it came to Best Picture winners. I’ve been enjoying the 80’s so far, and this Sidney Pollock epic is another good one to add to the list. While it’s not one of the greatest, you will earn to enjoy it as it goes on.

Under Pollock’s hand, this film tells a simple enough story, and it does everything it can to get the audience invested. Given the subject matter, I was invested as I could have gotten into this story. Although the pacing can be problematic, the production design and costume design manages to stand out while still fitting into it’s period time slot, and the score is one of the best I’ve heard on this quest.

But there are two things that truly stand out about this film. One is the cinematography. The Director of Photography is David Watkin, who won an Oscar for his work, an deservedly so. This is seriously one of the most beautiful films I’ve ever seen. You could take at least half of the screenshots from this movie and sell them to museums. And Africa looks so gorgeous that I’m gonna see if I can vacation there sometime.

For all of you who call this a bad movie, I ask you, how can it be a bad movie if the lead is Meryl Streep? It’s one thing to see Streep in a supporting role, like in the other two Best Pictures she was in, but a Lead Streep performance is something else entirely. You find yourself falling in love with her character and hoping that things will turn out all right for her. And if you’re still not sold on Mery’s performance, check this out;

“Early in the film, Baroness Karen Blixen is introduced to her servants. Although the scene is inter-cut with close-ups and other inserts in the film, the first take was filmed as one long shot. The prolonged take required Streep to meet and exchange dialogue with several other characters. As soon as director Sydney Pollack yelled “Cut,” Streep, wearing a high-collared shirt and snug jacket, yelled “get this thing off of me!” and ripped open her jacket. A beetle the size of Streep’s hand had crawled down the front of the jacket moments after the camera rolled, yet she continued filming the scene, Much of it remains in the final film.” -IMDB.com

Yeah, talk about a great actress! Overall, Out Of Africa is not a perfect film. The screenplay isn’t always top-notch, and it does have a tendency to drag, but I still recommend it. It’s got great music, flawless cinematography, and a stunning performance by a wonderful actress. It’s like Gravity, except it has nothing to do with it.

****1/2

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