Friday, April 8, 2011

I Heart Huckabees (David O. Russell)

Dustin Hoffman and Lily Tomlin: Existential Detectives

Absurdist film filled with deep existential concepts relentlessly displayed through comic articulacy. I've read many dissenting reviews regarding the film even before I have seen it so I'm quite weary that this will be one of those pseudo-intellectual, nonsensical pretense disguised as a comedy film. But even though the alienating opening sequence (I have no idea what Jason Schwartzman's character is blabbering about) is a cautious foreboding that this won't be a usual film, I do believe that with enough patience, "I Heart Huckabees" can easily be appreciated and absorbed even by the most unenthusiastic of viewers.

It stars distinguished actors such as Dustin Hoffman, Jude Law, Mark Wahlberg, and Naomi Watts (with 'The Birds'' Tippi Hedren in a minor role), and the plot concerns depression, divisive philosophies about the universe and identity and it never stops there. This film is fueled with enough intellectual discourse to inspire debates and disgust. Even the idea of producing a brief philosophy book out of it would not be an overstatement.

Director David O. Russell, known for his eccentric temperament, seems to have found his ideal film: a film where characters populate sequences armed with enough angst, questions and disoriented energy that fully complement the nature of the situations.

Concerning machismo, 'Three Kings' may be Russell's definitive creation, but considering the sheer downpour of endless thoughts that may have bugged his psyche firsthand, this is possibly 'it'. The visual accompaniment for his supposedly erratic behavior on-sets. The exalted characters. The endlessly restless cerebral and 'physical' activities. Yes, this can be 'him'.

Amidst its tireless interior that contains stupendous amount of grounds deep inquiries that can easily be answered with practicality ('isn't coincidence just, well, a coincidence all on itself?'), "I Heart Huckabees" unfolded its true, simplistic nature via a question repeatedly uttered throughout and even included at the very end of the credits: "How am I not myself?"

Same existential question can be raised in 'Values Education' classes and within that context, it might be the film's ultimate intent: To align our inner thoughts to who we really are. I'm quite sure that I've already mentioned that line in my "Three Kings" review. Redundancy perhaps, but It can be a sign of a thematic trend.

"I Heart Huckabees" wasn't an energy-sucking 'infernal' machine as what Roger Ebert stated in his review of this film. It truly is a well-made commentary (as if it resembles one) about every person's hidden acumen that can solve inner dilemmas not through the exploration of an abyss infested with far-fetched ideas but through the fondness to expose the true, cathartic nature of ourselves.

We have already seen many films dealing with human comedy and the folly of decisions. "I Heart Huckabees", on the other hand, is the comedy of philosophy and the folly of its perceived precision.


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