What really surprised me is how the filmmakers attack the genre from two angles. On one hand, it knows everything about The Long Goodbye and the sad private detective thing; on the other, it ages up the Hardy Boys and Encyclopedia Brown in ways that are clever and funny and dead serious about the inspirations. Most new directors would stumble trying too hard with the first thing and blow it by being cynical and ironic about the second, but Evan Morgan knows what he wants and what he likes and more importantly how to put it on the screen.
Fourth viewing: U.S. edit
I am starting to see the two versions of The Grandmaster as not two movies but as companion pieces. The longer cut is about the romance, and the shorter version is about the profession, about being an artist and a devotion to craft. I think the key is the choice of what Razor scenes to show. His encounter with Gong Er in the original has the trappings of a romantic encounter; his scene with Ip Man…
This film is at its best when it sticks to its stated thesis: reminding you of how wonderful Natalie Wood was, absent of the tabloid scandal that surrounds her death.
Too bad it abandons that for its final third, focusing on the iconic actress' death and its aftermath. The aftermath. Which is everyone else, not Natalie. As much as I sympathize with the impulse here, and feel so very much for the family, the avoidance of all hard questions, the…