This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
Kurt Fabisch’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
"If you INSIST, senor."
Steven Spielberg's best film. Let me start there.
Of all his films, there's no other I think is as well done as Raiders of the Lost Ark. Jaws is ALSO perfect. But when it comes down to personal preference, gotta go with the hat and the whip.
I am SO thankful that I got the chance to see this movie on the big screen last year. Watching this film with an audience was such a pleasure.
This movie is just amazing.
It would be very easy to go off for 5,000 words on a movie like this.
What I like about the film:
I love all the different "genres" it covers.
One toe in each of the following:
- World War 2
- and Fantasy, where ILM comes in. :)
The fact that's it's Indy as an agent of the US government going up against the Nazis in the 30s just adds something to the film.
If it were some other group of people going after the Ark in another time, say a terrorist group in the 2000s, it just wouldn't have the same feeling of importance. That it's the Nazis just makes it a little more scary, thinking what Hitler would do if he could find a way to use something like the Ark.
I love it when a filmmaker takes a genre (other than just "war") film and puts it in a WW2 setting.
Inglourious Bastards, Pan's Labyrinth, Life is Beautiful, etc.
Raiders also adding fantasy into things.
Everything leading up to the opening of the Ark is very much grounded in reality (more or less). The action is all earth-bound, guns, knives, cars, explosions, etc.
We're in an action film. So when that Ark opens up and lights start emitting and Indy tells Marion to shut her eyes, we know something very serious is about to happen.
The combination of the story, the actors, the camerawork by Doug Slocomb, the sound effects, the make-up (melting faces), the ILM effects and the EPIC John Williams score makes the opening of the Ark in my opinion the greatest special effects scene in movie history.
And I love how the Ark in its crate burns the Nazi emblem off the wood. That is freaky.
"I'll tell you everything!"
"Yes.... I know you will." Love Toht, such a great villain.
The shootout in Marion's bar. Indy shooting the guy but we only see the shadow move. That's a great bit of screen violence!
"Shoot zem.... shoot zem both." Love the reaction on the goon's face. "What?! ME?!?!"
The Map Room scene, it's all about that music. My favorite piece of John Williams music in any of his work.
That music DEFINES epic movie music for me.
Harrison Ford. Surprised he wasn't nominated for an Oscar for Raiders.
He does some great acting in here. The scene with Belloq where Indy thinks Marion is dead. Indy never looks at Belloq for most of their conversation. Belloq's going on about the Ark and how
"It's a radio to God."
Indy looks at Belloq and smiles. "You wanna talk to God? Let's go see him together, I've got nothing better to do." I believe Indy's ready to throw down Unforgiven style in that moment.
Ford has a way of getting hit in movies. He LOOKS like he's taking beatings in his movies. The fight with the airplane. When that guy hits him in the face and Indy goes down, that looks like it hurt. It makes Indy such a human character. Bond never reacted to pain. Indy does.
"I am already missing you."
Sala's little speech to Indy about maybe forgetting about the Ark sends chills down my spine every time.
"If it is there at Tannis, then it is something man was not meant to disturb. Death has always surrounded it. It is not of this Earth." Great writing by Lawrence Kasdan. That guy just knew how to write for genre films. I hope to God he's still got it for Episode VII.
Brody's excellent, too. All game for Indy to go after the Ark, but then he has to take a moment.
"For 3,000 years man has been searching for the Lost Ark. That's not something to be taken lightly. No one knows it's secrets. It's like... nothing you've gone after before."
Indy's reaction is perfect and one of my favorite Indy moments.
"Oh, Marcus! What are you trying to do, scare me? You sound like my mother. I don't believe in any superstitious hocus-pocus. I'm going after a find of incredible historical significance, you're talking about the boogeyman." He reaches into his desk and pulls out his gun. "Besides, you know what a.... cautious fellow I am." Tosses it into his bag. OH, that's awesome!
Karen Allen as Marion. Just gorgeous and such a good character. In the action, too! She blows those Nazis away when she gets behind that machine gun in the cockpit.
And of course shooting that guy aiming at Indy in the bar. That fantastic editing and use of sound, we hear a gunshot, Indy reacts as if he might have gotten shot. Then blood pours out the guy's mouth and we see that Marion shot the guy. Bad....ass!
That shot of Indy putting his hat on in front of the sunset.
#1 favorite image from movie history. My God is that gorgeous.
As is that shot of Indy riding out of the dig site on the horse with the diggers all standing up to watch.
THAT is why Raiders of the Lost Ark is the best Spielberg movie.
Steven Spielberg. Top..... man.