The Daily Focus #5: To Live and Die in L.A.

Author: thedailyfocus

I’ve known about this film for a while and I’ve always meant to see it (mostly because of its celebrated soundtrack). Today I finally got the chance with a lengthy browsing of On Demand titles.

I don’t know what to think of the movie, though. I was told it was good, and it most certainly was. But it was missing something. The plotting was strange. The story felt disorganized. A lot of stuff was just jumped over or dodged entirely. It seemed like the director decided that the audience would just make assumptions and fill in the gaps. All that mattered to them, and apparently us, was that we got to the next big thing. The next chapter.

The ending was also lame and odd. Everything felt so squeezed and no repercussion or drama resulted from the huge death scene. In fact, there never seemed to be any drama in this film at all. Not even from Chance. I understood his desire for revenge because of his partner’s murder, but every decision he made just seemed unguided and random. He just jumped into ideas and rushed them without thinking.

Is this symptomatic of 1980′s thriller film making? Maybe 1980′s film making in general? We often cite the modern Hollywood trends and being geared toward raw (but dumb) spectacle and lazy storytelling, but really if you look at popular 80′s films, you ain’t finding a whole lot of depth. They just got lucky by having all of these premises seem fresh, I suppose. And noir wasn’t in focus at that time either? Was the goal only to make semi-serious films with exaggerated, sunglasses-wearing macho cops, a touch of hard violence, lengthy action sequences, and a slick soundtrack? Did the 80′s begin the repetitive, copycat nature of using formulas that sell?

This film was shot well, and the editing and sound design were slick and detailed. But if you’re ultimately left with a series of cool images and sounds that aren’t tied down by a tightened, detailed script and plot, is your film great?

The rest of the world seems to think so. But perhaps I’m missing something here.

Author: thedailyfocus

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