Going into the season 6 finale, I assumed that any episode following the exhilaration and brilliance of “Battle of the Bastards” would suffer from at least some measure of anticlimax, regardless of the quality of the episode itself. I am happy to report that I was sorely mistaken in my assumption. I was mistaken to the extent that I must concede that while “The Winds of Winter” was as dissimilar from “Battle of the Bastards” as two episodes could be in such a stylistically consistent series as Game of Thrones, it was absolutely on par with that installment in every respect save for action, which it obviously need not be because that wasn’t the focus of this episode, that being central to the aforementioned difference. Indeed, several aspects of this episode were stylistically unique for the series, not just in relation to the previous installment.
‘Blood of My Blood’ is one of the most cogent illustrations of the intersectionality of the vital subjects and themes that makes Game of Thrones and A Song of Ice and Fire the masterworks that they are, across both their respective media. That this episode was simultaneously magisterial and grounded makes it a classic in my estimation, because these are two of the traits the series revels in that lesser, less balanced narratives often treat as mutually exclusive. Continue reading
I can’t help but perceive a certain distance implied in the title A Most Violent Year. It’s as if the speaker is regarding the year in question with an intimate knowledge of the violence referenced without having actually been a part of it, per se. It’s reminiscent of when one hears of the untimely death of someone one doesn’t know personally and remarks something along the lines of “how tragic;” acknowledging the loss without feeling it. That sort of detachment lays at the heart of the journey of Abel Morales (Oscar Isaac) in J.C. Chandor’s film. Continue reading
4. Michael B. Jordan: Fruitvale Station
The biggest Oscar snub by far in my opinion. He’s been at it since he was young and was great on The Wire as a teenager but this is an incredibly mature and accomplished performance for someone his age. There was no more full picture of a single character than Jordan painted for us in Fruitvale Station. This film reminded me a bit of classic neo-realism like Bicycle Thieves, showing us a single day in the life of a completely ordinary citizen simply living his life that day and all that entails. Fruitvale is not about a shooting, it’s about a young man who’s life was taken abruptly and unexpectedly. What the film does best is show us Oscar Grant’s humanity, which is channeled through and personified to the smallest detail by Michael B. Jordan in a nuanced, understated and moving performance. The academy seemed to only have enough room in their collective hearts for one “black film” this year, which is a real shame, because I actually thought this one was better than the one they chose.
The narrative acumen of the Game of Thrones show runners and their crew was on full display this episode. The opening sequence was masterful and cinematic, setting the perfect tone for the entire episode, which has to be the most well-structured, evenly-paced, and deftly executed installment of the season up to this point. All the transitions were narratively and thematically coherent; there was no filler in the episode, even if there was a small amount of fat in isolated instances. Continue reading
Let’s just get right into it. I always try not to read other pieces on Game of Thrones before finishing my own, but I couldn’t hide from the amount of stuff written about Jaime’s rape of Cersei. Before I begin in earnest, let me be very clear up front that I am not defending rape, the depiction of rape or the use of it as a narrative tool by media-arts producers. As for the latter, I reserve the right, as any viewer does, to question and deride whatsoever I please within any piece of work. I will not do so, however, for the sake of propriety, personal preference, or moral outrage. The works I find to be morally outrageous are those which are wantonly intellectually dishonest or somehow produced in bad faith; I do not find Game of Thrones the television series in particular or A Song of Ice In Fire in general to be such works. Continue reading