Gus Van Sant's "Milk"

Gus Van Sant has never had a keen ability to direct movies for a large audience. The one blatant attempt was 2000's Finding Forester, a film so devoid of nuance that it would've fit perfectly as a late-80's after-school special. But when he sticks to his art, Van Sant has the directorial eye and vision of one of the best of our time. Films such as Drugstore Cowboy, To Die For, My Own Private Idaho and Paranoid Park are stellar works of filmmaking. And the one film that far exceeded its expectations, Good Will Hunting, is a wonderful movie that brought Van Sant to the masses.

This year's Milk seemed to be new territory for Van Sant. Despite remaining true to form and taking on a topic with depth and importance, the movie enlisted top Hollywood actors and appeared to be geared towards a large audience. But unlike Finding Forester, Van Sant held onto his trademarks and oversaw a movie that stands with his best. Gone is the quirky and unique camerawork evidenced in Paranoid Park and Elephant, but remaining are the moments, spirit and soul that make Van Sant a tour de force.

Most importantly, this is a film of grand importance, especially given the present-day civil rights issues around gay and lesbian rights and marriage. Harvey Milk's fight in the mid-to-late 70's brought rise to many of the same fights being staged today in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York City and throughout the country. And Van Sant was the perfect fit for a film that needed to be done right. Milk is the first great movie I've seen released this year. All the accolades thrown upon this picture are well deserved.


Fred said...

The screenplay was written by Dustin Lance Black, the man who wrote for the HBO miniseries "Big Love."

Nice interview here:

Campbell said...

Wow, now that's one accomplished dude. Thanks for the link...