Friday, March 12, 2021

Best of 2020 #5: First Cow

Before I begin, I should say that the one thing I couldn’t stand about this movie was the 4:3 aspect ratio. I never stopped noticing those big black bars on either side of my screen. I guess the point was that the performances were more important than the scenery, and I can appreciate that, but the time for 4:3 has passed. It just takes me out of the movie too much.

Storyteller’s Rulebook: Marry a Familiar Genre to an Unfamiliar Tone

What happens when Kelly Reichardt makes a heist movie? You get First Cow, a whisper-quiet, super-gentle, move about a very mild crime in 1820s Oregon. A rich man has brought the first cow to the frontier town, and a sweet-natured cook, urged on by his friend, starts stealing the cow’s milk every night to help with his baking. What’s fascinating is that the rules of crime still follow. This movie shows why every crime movie is about “one last job”: because every job is one last job. They just can’t stop adding just one more theft before they’re ready to get out of town. We can see that they’re addicted to their ill-gotten gains, and won’t stop anytime soon, but they can’t see that. We know that they were always fated to keep going until they got caught, but they say, “Oh, man, what are the odds that we’d get caught on our last night?”


Anonymous said...

"I never stopped noticing those big black bars on either side of my screen." – I find this weird. My parents had this problem with the bars as well, but I just can't get behind this at all. How do you even notice them?
Maybe it's also something of a youtube-generation thing? Most videos/films I watch these days have something or another on the side, unless I specifically put it in full-view, and even then it's normal to see some black bars.

Apologies for not adding anything productive to the comment section. I haven't seen this movie (I didn't even know it existed)

Matt Bird said...

It's funny, because I never had any problem with letterboxing, just pillarboxing.