The final part of February’s Film Talk, I looked at emotions at the train station and the homes that both Vic and Joe live in.
The next is confined to train stations. Vic (Alan Bates) walking and off his steam from the argument and his drunkenness. Whilst Joe’s (Jon Voight) is running after Ratso (Dustin Hoffman) who has just conned him. In terms of emotions they are very different. Vic’s are more internalised on screen, he is very still and tired. Whilst Joe’s is very external which we see in a combination of reality in colour and his desire in black and white, along with a flashback, a lot of emotion is on the screen. (Stills below)
Lastly the accommodation that Vic and Joe move into, Vic moves into two homes with Ingrid (June Ritchie), once at home and we presume in a flat at the end after looking around a shared house together Whilst Joe has reluctantly moved into Ratso’s condemned flat. (Stills below)
In both films we don’t see the much if any of the glamour of the 1960’s. Instead we have a more realistic representation of life from the early 1960’s with a couple who marry out of obligation before trying to make a go of married life post miscarriage. At the end of the 1960’s we have a young man whose dreams of being a hustler are dashed by the modern perceptions before learning what is more important in life taking the form of Ratso’s friendship.
After showing a portion of A Kind of Loving (1962) I moved onto Midnight Cowboy (1969)that was John Schlesinger‘s last film of the decade. It was the first X rated film to win Best Picture at the Oscars, and another two, Best Director and best-adapted screenplay.
On the surface it doesn’t share the same themes of the earlier film if anything it’s a more personal piece by Schlesinger a successful homosexual director bringing these themes to the film. It follows Joe Buck (Jon Voight) a young Texan who decides to move to New York to try his luck in his own words as a Hustler, believing his authentic cowboy image is going to attract all the women. Unaware of the images true connotations. It’s not until he gets there and is befriended by Ratso – Dustin Hoffman does he slowly begin to realize what is happening. The dream of success on the streets is shattered much like that of the sexual and cultural revolution of the 1960’s. I noticed that financially he’s always paying out and not earning in return for his “work”, things slowly get worse for him. Midnight Cowboy can be seen as the culmination of the 1960’s the pill has long been in use, allowing for more promiscuity and sexual freedom. We are seeing the results over in the States. I’d like to share a few scenes from both films back to back to show the similarities between them.
The first is the Father son chat about the future – A Kind of Loving, and Joe properly meeting Ratso – Midnight Cowboy. (Stills below)
The second we find our characters on coaches; Vic and Ingrid (June Ritchie) on the Coach – A Kind of Loving and Joe on the Coach to New York – Midnight Cowboy (Stills below)
All are starting out on new directions, the honey moon couple who as we see are de-flowered twice in a few minutes, once on the coach as they take the flowers from the button holes, and sexually. Whilst Joe is going to live out his American dream.
The third we see both Vic and Joe in arguments, Again we see Mrs. Rothwell (Thora Hird), Ingrid’s Mum giving Vic her honest opinion. And Ratso telling Joe how it is regarding his Cowboy image. (stills below)
The final two comparisons I will look at emotions at the train station and the homes that both Vic and Joe live in, which will be in the final part 3
The second in my ongoing series if Film Talks I’m running at the Rothley Community Library. I decided to discuss two films this time A Kind of Loving (1962) and Midnight Cowboy (1969) both directed by John Schlesinger. Below are the notes from the night.
Tonight I’ll be taking a look at one of last months recommendations – A Kind of Loving (1962), which I noticed was directed by John Schlesinger who went onto make Midnight Cowboy (1969). I’ll start by sharing what makes a Kitchen sink drama or has otherwise been known as a British New Wave or Social Realism. Before moving onto look at A Kind of Loving and drawing comparisons with Midnight Cowboy.
So what is a Kitchen Sink Drama? I think you have to look at Britain socially first, in order to inform these films. I turned to The Social Structure of Modern Britain – E.A. Johns (1965); which is dated by today’s standards, but nonetheless allowed me to see how society was perceived at the time of writing. I first focused on the family,
“…the view currently held by many eminent writers is that the family has been stripped of the functions which are essential to its cohesion, and that parents have abnegated their responsibilities in favour of the government-run organs of the Welfare state.”
These essential functions of the family are :
- Provision of a home
- Production and rearing of children
- Stable satisfaction of sex need
R.M. MacIver – Macmillan 1957
Johns continued on the family by quoting W.J.H Sprott who argued that
“…The family, under Western cultural conditions has shrunk functionally” and that the social services are basically “anti-family” in that they cater almost exclusively for the individual rather than the family as a whole. This view is supported up to a point by M.Penelope Hall when she quotes the article on Social Policy and the Family…This document remarks that the family has until recently, been given only a minor place in social policy, “and over-all effect has been to lower status of the family in the national life”. Day nurseries and school meals, for example encourage a mother to go to work, but do not encourage her to create a home for her children”
There’s an improvement in opportunities for young mothers wanting to be independent, which would have a knock on effect. Whilst also looking at increased leisure time available in modern Britain.
“…the increasing adoption of the 5-day working week and introduction of labour-saving devices in the home both mean that families have more leisure time. The characteristically democratic structure of most modern families mean that husbands and wives spend more of this time together.”
I also looked at the position of women in the 60’s, first looking at the jobs they have
Married women stats
25-34 years – 2/3 are employed
35-44 years – ¾ are employed
45-54 – 2/3 are employed.
Types of work include
- distribution – insurance – banking – catering – laundries (industry jobs)
- Hairdressing – domestic service – nursing (tertiary jobs)
- Clerks – typists – shop assistance (“white-blouse brigade”)
These statistics only account for married women in employment. What about when the married couple moves away from the family home into the newly built housing estates?
“Another factor…is that when families make the sudden transition from an old-established neighbourhood with a strong social life to a virgin housing estate, they may experience a good deal of loneliness, at least initially. The wives, in particular. may miss the gossip and chatter of the streets, and see a substitute in the companionship of the office or factory”
Lastly looking at marriage and divorce, which was made more accessible, however divorce was only granted under certain conditions. This passage still carries some weight today regarding the failure of marriages.
“I think the most significant element, however, is the egalitarianism which characterizes the relationship between married partners today, by contrast with the patriarchal authoritarianism which was accepted as the normal pattern in the nineteenth century…The marriage a girl enters today has far more stresses than her grandmother’s. A partnership needs much more forbearance than the situation which the wife just used to accept the idea of doing what she was told.”
It does however acknowledge that number of younger couples getting married, and why. The most obvious is the reason why our main characters Vic and Ingrid in A Kind of Loving.
“In 1960, nearly 62,000 extra-maritally conceived children were born to women married for less than 8 months (usually 5 or 6). Translated into proportion of all marriages this means that one in five brides was pregnant, and it is well established that the shot-gun marriage is more likely to break down.”
Johns doesn’t mention the introduction pill was made available with slowly increased access to it.
“At first it was only prescribed to married women – most older women who had already had children and wanted no more…In the past most women had to married at an early age, being expected to give up their job and become a full-time housewife and mother wile their husband went out to work. If a woman wanted to follow a career she had to give up thoughts of marriage. Now, married could, if they chose, plan a career, and rigid gender based division of roles began to change. It was the beginning of both a social and sexual revolution, and there was much talk of the ‘permissive society’ and ‘free love’”
Life in the 1960s – Mike Brown Pg. 9
So we have some social context around the Kitchen Sink Drama we know that they are focused on working class issues. If you’ve ever seen one you’ll notice they are mostly in Northern locations complete with the rich accents. They are devoid of special effects, the gloss that you get over in Hollywood or Europe lets take a closer look at the key directors of the movement. The subjects they covered were.
Now lets take a quick look at the key directors of the movement.
Then we have John Schlesinger who began his career as an actor in his early twenties before making his directorial debut with a 30-minute documentary about Waterloo station – Terminus. A year later he made his feature film debut with A Kind of Loving, which saw him work with producer Joseph Janni for the first of 6 films together. It’s also the first starring role for Alan Bates.
The film follows a young man Vic (Alan Bates) who falls for Ingrid (June Ritchie), which starts off like a school romance, the passing of notes, the boys fighting, and the social dances. That’s all until Ingrid falls pregnant after they both loose their virginity. This is when the dream of a carefree romance starts to fall away opening them up to married life. In the first few weeks of marriage they are living at her home with her mother played by Thora Hird. Who makes life difficult for them under her roof. It’s her way or the highway, and they can’t really afford to leave just yet. The classic mother-in-law type brings reality crashing down for them. She’s hardly in the film but makes a strong impression on Vic who until recently was free to come and go as he pleased, now assuming the role of the husband. I’d like to show you the portion of the film (stills below) when the school romance fades away as they become adults.
In part two coming I draw comparisons with John Schlesinger’s last film of the decade – Midnight Cowboy.
On 16th January I presented my first film talk, the first in a series of community based talks about film, looking into films in more detail than before. The first was looking at It’s a Wonderful Life (1947) sharing my insights of the film with the general public. Below you can read the notes from the night.
Tonight I’d like to explore the darker side of It’s a Wonderful Life, (1946), Frank Capra’s Christmas classic that at the time of release got a mixed to luke-warm response from both critics and general public. His first film post WWII, it was also the flagship film for his new production company, Liberty films which he formed with fellow directors and comrades during the war George Stevens, and William Wyler. Both very different directors; Stevens known for his comedies, especially for the Tracy and Hepburn film; Woman of the Year (1942); where the famous affair began. Whereas Wyler had been making a range of films, a few with Bette Davis who he had affairs with. It wasn’t until he released Mrs Miniver (1942) about a middle class British family coping with war on the home front did his career begin to change for the better.
Turning back to Capra, he was a Sicilian immigrant who came to America in 1903 aged six with his family. He would later to move to Hollywood where he would direct a string of very successful comedies during the depression. Moving forward to just before It’s a Wonderful life was released in late 1946, he has spent the last the duration of the World War two, posted in Washington, holding the rank of Major, in command of the U.S. Film core, coordinating projects at home and out on the front line. Most notable colleagues under his command included John Ford, John Huston, William Wyler, who made propaganda films for both public and military consumption.
With exception to John Ford, he was the most successful of the fellow directors, having directed a number of successful comedies, earning himself 3 Best Director Oscars during the 1930’s alone. The films speak for themselves
It Happened One Night (1934) was the first film and comedy to winning the “Big 5” Best Actor, Actress, Writing, Director and Film. The film follows a journalist who will stop at nothing to get an exclusive story of a runaway socialite before her big wedding.
Mr Deeds Goes to Town (1936) won best director, second in a row, and his third nomination. A musician inherits a vast fortune, spending the rest of the film fighting off city slickers who will do anything for it.
You Can’t Take it With You (1938) won Best director and film for his studio Columbia. A rich Families son falls for a daughter from an eccentric family, who in turn lay in the way of the family business’s plans.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) most notable for the 12-minute filibuster by James Stewart picked up Best Original Screenplay. A naïve boy ranger’s leader is made governor of his state, when in Washington he finds corruption, not the high ideals who believes in.
All of these films came before Pearl Harbor in December 1942 when he would finish his on-going projects before enlisting. On returning to civilian life, his industry had changed beyond recognition, as much as they wanted him. He wrote in the New York Times about
‘Breaking Hollywood’s “Pattern of Sameness”…This war he wrote had caused American filmmakers to see movies that studios had been turning out “through their eyes” and to recoil from the “machine-like treatment” that, he contended, made most pictures look and sound the same. “Many of the men… producers, directors, scriptwriters returned from service with a firm resolve to remedy this,” he said; the production companies there were now forming would give each of them “freedom and liberty” to pursue “his own individual ideas on subject matter and material”
Five Came Back – Mark Harris – Pg. 419-20
What is this “Pattern of Sameness” that he was reacting to in his article? The article was setting out his opening of an independent studio – Liberty Studios that would produce films unhindered by the moguls. Something that more and more directors were beginning to do. Maybe this “Sameness” was a type of film he was not used to, or produced a negative response in him. Were these the films his contemporaries and even partners in his new venture were all making?
“…his fellow filmmakers, including his two new partners, were becoming more outspoken advocates for increased candour and frankness in Hollywood movies and a more adult approach to storytelling, he flinched at anything that smacked of controversy. Over the past several years he had become so enthralled by the use of film as propaganda that in peacetime he was finding it hard to think of movies in any other way. “ There are just two things that are important,” he told the Los Angeles Times in March. “One is to strengthen the individuals belief in himself, and the other, even more important right now, is to combat a modern trend towards atheism.”
Five Came Back – Mark Harris – Pg. 419-20
His fellow filmmakers were striving for more realism in their work, one response for wanting realism, a stylized realism is Film noir.
“The term “film noir” itself was coined by the French, always astute critics and avid fans of American culture from Alexis de Tocqueville through Charles Baudelaire to the young turks at Cahiers du cinema. It began to appear in French film criticism almost immediately after the conclusion of World War Two. Under Nazi Occupation the French had been deprived of American movies for almost five years; and when they finally began to watch them in late 1945, they noticed a darkening not only of mood but of the subject matter.”
Film Noir – Alain Silver & James Ursini – Pg 10
A new kind of American cinema was flooding into French cinemas.
I’d like to show the nightmare, or alternate reality sequence from the film now. However before I do, I’d like to share what I found in the sequence that fits into what makes a film noir a film noir. There a few themes and visual cues that can be attributed to the genre, each applied to different varieties within the genre, showing how flexible it is.
The Haunted Past –
“Noir protagonists are seldom creatures of the light. They are often escaping some past burdens, sometimes a traumatic incident from their past (as in Detour or Touch of Evil) o sometimes a crime committed out of passion (as in Out of the Past, Criss Cross and Double Indemnity). Occasionally they are simply fleeing their own demons created by ambiguous events buried in their past, as in In a Lonely Place.”
Film Noir – Alain Silver & James Ursini – Pg 15
For George he tries for the majority if the film to escape his hometown – Bedford Falls, which has always pulled him back at the last-minute. His father’s death, marriage to Mary, the Depression, His hearing that stopped him fighting during World War II, until finally he might be leaving to serve a jail sentence for bankruptcy.
The Fatalistic Nightmare – “The noir world revolves around causality. Events are linked like an unbreakable chain and lead inevitably to a heavily foreshadowed conclusion. It is a deterministic universe in which psychology…chance…and even structures of society…can ultimately override whatever good intentions and high hopes the main characters have.”
Film Noir – Alain Silver & James Ursini – Pg 15
You could say that George has been living a nightmare, until he enters into a world created by his desire to not exist.
These are only types of Noir narrative that apply to the film. The look of Noir has been applied to the alternate reality where George enters his Noir Nightmare, the look of the town, now named Pottersville, where we find all the business in town have sold out, part of Potters empire, populated with bars and clubs, another town to drown your sorrows, forget who you are and where you have come from, until reality will ultimately come for payment.
The lighting – Chiaroscuro Lighting. Low-key lighting, in the style of Rembrandt or Caravaggio, marks most noirs of the classic period. Shade and light play against each other not only in night exteriors but also in dimmed interiors shielded from daylight by curtains or Venetian blinds. Hard, unfiltered side light and rim outline and reveal only a portion of the face to create a dramatic tension all its own. Cinematographers such as, John F Seitz and John Alton took his style to the highest level in films like Out of the Past, Double Indemnity and T-Men. Their black and white photography with its high contrasts, stark day exteriors and realistic night work became the standard of the noir style.
Film Noir – Alain Silver & James Ursini – Pg 16
If we look at Out of the Past (1947) which follows a private investigator (Robert Mitchum) who has tried to escape his life, living in a small town as a mechanic, before his old life catches up with him in the form of Kirk Douglas. Here you can see the deep shadow that leaves the characters in almost darkness at times.
Whilst in Double Indemnity (1944) another prime example of the genre we can see how the lights are directed against the blinds, which act more like bars of a jail cell rather than an indicator of the time of day, Light and shadow are used to take us into a dark underworld that is lurking around the corner ready to consume you.
I’m going to play the nightmare sequence now (stills below), afterwards I’ll share some of my observations.
Capra essentially redressed and relight of Bedford Falls? I feel that Capra was reluctant to really delve into the genre he was resisting. He does however replicate the lighting, which is heavily stylised through the exterior scenes and those in the old Granville house, where he had previously (in his living life) threw stones at with Mary. However here it seems more stones have been thrown here, as it’s beyond a ghost house.
I also noticed that it’s the third time that he has jumped/fallen into the water, the first being to save his younger brother Harry’s life, the second as he literally and emotionally falls for Mary, his wife to be.
I caught a glimpse of the series finale of Westworld last night, not something I wanted to do, possibly ruining what was going to happen. Thankfully it didn’t really give too much away. After last weeks episode when we knew things were finally staying heated in the park. I can safely say things stayed that way. Last week I also read about different timelines going on in the series, at least three, which finally became clear. I wasn’t really seeing that myself, but it does become clear after spending 20 odd minutes with Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) who catches up with William, our Man in Black(Ed Harris) is the older William (Jimmi Simpson) who was riding in the park with Logan (Ben Barnes)So we have two timelines converging on Delores who is only now realising, who she is and ultimately her purpose or should we say destiny as this extended episode drew the first series to a climatic close.
So what about Maeve Millay (Thandie Newton) who back above ground is putting the next phase of her plan in action. Or should we really call it her narrative? I’ll get to that later. Taking with her two other hosts who are in for repair, now human blood is being shed and its all away from the park. It seems that all the training that the hosts receive before being letting loose in the main park allows them to adapt to situations and tools. Maeve is careful to keep hold of Felix throughout all of this action. We do have a few more nods to the film when headquarters learn something is up, filling in the gaps of what may have fallen on the cutting room floor in the 1970’s. Her story-line is somewhat sidelined at the end to allow us to build up more Arnold/Bernard (Jeffrey Wright), Delores and Dr. Ford (Anthony Hopkins) who finally reveals all to them both and the audience. We learn who Wyatt which comes as a surprise, a character who has laid dormant in another host ready to take us to the next season.
A daring twist is to kill off Ford, which I feel has worked in his favor as the companies board have voted him out. His new narrative is revealed finally, he has allowed the revolution to slowly happen before us. Rolling back hosts memories at times to delay the incident until his final card is forced. However as the final card is played, we see both Delores and Maeve taking control of their destiny’s, going beyond their original programming. However are we still working with two timelines, or have they converged just yet? All will be revealed in 2018
This week my expectations have been smashed, we are getting close to the hosts revolt now, its palpable with Meave Millay (Thandie Newton) leading from the front as she returns to the park, finding the gunfighter. That’s not before scaring the hell out of Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) whose going through his own set of issues. We spend little time with Meave in favorite of Dr. Ford’s (Anthony Hopkins) favourite host who wants to have all his memories released, wanting to be more free to understand who he is, how they have helped form him. He wants to know more about his back-story, something that the other hosts (except Meave) don’t question. Of course these back-stories are pretty basic in comparison to the history we carry with us, our experiences and memories form who we are every day, some changes us for the better or worse. The hosts are more 2 dimensional, making them more about familiarity within the stories they’re programmed into.
We see just how far Ford has control over his hosts when we see Clementine (Angela Sarafyan) after her robotic lobotomy. Maybe he will make it a long way into the next season, I can’t see him lasting long once the revolt is underway, or will he run for cover?
After catching the tail end of an interview with Ed Harris at the weekend I know he is back for season 2, which was initially 8 episodes but will now be the full 10. So going by that, he won’t die at the hands of Armistice (Ingrid Bolsø Berdal) who has limited self-awareness. Playing part of the Wyatt story-line – I thought for a while that Wyatt was going to be Arnold, – that is soon scuppered. We do however have more answers to Hector and his relationship with the park, He is either an associate or a share-holder, having an strong interest in the park, far beyond his own personal demons.
We finally learn who Arnold is – or was when Delores (Evan Rachel Wood) goes wandering after leaving William (Jimmi Simpson) and Logan (Ben Barnes) who were reunited at the end of the previous episode. The two men are still at loggerheads, finding different things in the park, fighting over what Delores is to them. One a robot to be shot, slept with and abused, or a person of different form who has a right to be free. We have a pragmatist and an idealist. It’s all about Delores really who goes to confession at the old host training ground, where we learn a lot more about Arnold.
Lastly we can see another character become lost to the hosts, yes it’s finally happening, the fail-safes of technology are malfunctioning, or outgrowing their creators. Bring on episode 10, or should I be saying bring on series 2.
I can’t remember the last time I spent some real time with this work which I’ve been working loosely with since the summer. Today I’ve spent some good time in the studio playing with my lights and projector, directing them onto the white models I made in the summer. I’ve finally been able to do what I set out to all those months ago. It was rather satisfying to see these ideas take form, if they worked or didn’t was another thing, to actually follow through on a thought that had been there for a long time means I’m happier for it.
So it was all about colour to begin win, wanting to shine block colour, taking the phrase almost literally – painting the town red – with light. I found that the red was coming out more pink, turning to less obvious colours such as green and blue, before finishing with orange. Photographically the results aren’t the best. I found myself returning to earlier work, which is not where I want to be heading, I need to move away from the literal yet atmospheric.
Moving onto another idea I had was to project video onto these essentially blank canvases which meant getting the projector out and finding clips of Westerns I have, seeing what work. Not really choosing anything in particular I went for the rollerskating scene from Heaven’s Gate (1980) which pushed me to consider how to really use the projector and the model, which with every consecutive scene grew ans grew. With this scene it was more about how can I cove the whole or the majority of the model.
It was nice to see how the image consumed the model, becoming an outdoor cinema, projecting its image against a saloon. The image come up well on the model, it will ultimately vary depending on the model being projected onto. I moved onto a scene from The Searchers (1956) which was more of the same. I went to another scene from the film, this time bringing another model, meaning that the projector had to move back to accommodate them both.
What happened here was that the images took on a status of being bigger, yet still very much part of the same world. When I saw the landscape against the more urban models, this is something I wanted to explore, the background being part of these models in the foreground. Pushing it further with the final gunfight in True Grit (1969) which had wide open spaces to take advantage of.
This particular scene worked more so because of the action, the cinematic presentation of the scene, these gigantic god-like being behind the models. I also moved all four of the models in front of the projector, experimenting with layout, creating shadows, which ultimately don’t really matter as the image is still caught on the models in front, the light becomes sculptural. I carried the god-like status through to the next scene – the family massacre in Once Upon a Time in the West (1968) which I was very pleased with, partly down to the close-ups.
For the last set-up I positioned the models into a more conventional street set-up, with a gunfight from A Few Dollars More (1965) which drew me to my final thoughts of the day, linking nicely to the original inspiration of the Marquis in Melton – Street violence, or that of gunfights in the genre. I’d like to see how more models and more gunfight scenes work with this set-up. I still want to see how the cowboy figures work in terms of shadows they produce.
So as you can see I have been very busy and had lots of fun, immersed in the Western. To me this piece is about the violence that is created/depicted in the genre, this is where I maybe leading this piece going forward.
I’m starting to think I’ll be watching the second series the way the last two episodes have been leaning. With episode 8’s events I can see that the rebellion might be on hold but the build up will make it more than worth the wait. After last weeks revelation about Bernard (Jeffrey Wright) being one of Dr. Fords (Anthony Hopkins) earlier models who has been unwittingly been carrying out his every whim, or his amnesiac henchman. There are now at least 4 hosts who are starting to experience faults with their memories. They are no longer erasing past days events, their script is forming merely a basis as we have come to the park they are starting to realise what is happening.
For Meave Millay (Thandie Newton) she is all too aware of her existence – to a point that allows her to take control of the park, with a little help from upstairs, shes almost on an equal terms as the humans who created her. It’s a refreshing change to see a female lead taking control of the show, within the series she is also taking control of her destiny in a male dominated world of the Wild West which she is generally seen to be a the bottom of the food chain being programmed to be a madam. Could this be a feminist role, or is she just asserting her right to live and fight back?
We are also back with Hector (Ed Harris) and Teddy Flood (James Marsden) who are on the maze mission. We are finally given a back-story to this very flawed and human character who has come to the park to find redemption and hopefully himself in a world of violence that can hopefully contain and calm him down. Only then might he return to the world he mentioned of his big corporation. Taking on the role of a mysterious gunfighter he has given himself licence to vent his anger with little consequence – until now.
The shock ending and demise of Theresa last week, in a room of another host being built leads to any number of questions for further down the line, has her memory been somehow copied, ready to be put into another host, but would this get past others who would ultimately have to service/repair her host self.
Lastly we have spent more time with Delores Abernathy (Evan Rachel Wood)who is also having flashbacks or should we say memories playing tricks on her. Which leads me back to an earlier episode when she’s allowed to return to the park without having her resets triggered. He himself being a host, could he has sent her back in knowing that his connection to her? Things are really starting to heat up now, I just wish it hadn’t taken 7 episodes to do so, all these strands are starting to come together, whilst Ford is still unaware of what is going on in Westworld.
Yesterday I read that Westworld has been recommissioned for s second series, so that must mean that ratings/views of the series have been decent enough to produce more. That maybe enough to suggest that episode ten will leave us on a strong cliff hanger. I say that with still a note of caution as we are getting a very drawn out series of events.
This weeks episode shifts the action to above with the board-members who have come to visit the park after hearing about the malfunctions after the most recent update. Making more use of Charlotte Hale (Tessa Thompson) who is flexing her muscles in more ways than one. We are also getting more of an understanding of the history – again, looking more at Robert Ford, I can see why Anthony Hopkins was cast now, the cunning doctor who knows far more than he is letting on. You could say he has a god delusion complex over the park he and the deceased Arnold created years before. Its getting darker above the park, but we already knew that.
Back in the park we have left Lee Sizemore, to focus on the train with William (Jimmi Simpson) and Delores (Evan Rachel Wood). Hector who needs to prove to himself to be more of a man, a standard idea of the Western, whilst Delores is in search of something, it’s like a pilgrimage, unsure of the destination yet compelled to carry on no matter what. We see Hector starting to really come into his own now, even Delores as we enter new territory and meet up again with the Confederado’s.
Still it’s all about the park and Ford in this episode who is revealed to have more control than he let on before. He’s not a kindly old man who knows the park inside out and wise from his experience. Instead its his knowledge and superior intellect over them in terms of the hosts that we discover are turning up in new places above ground.
Lastly Meave Millay (Thandie Newton) is starting to show signs of the modifications, she’s starting slowly to gain control of the park, using all she knows to do so. When she’s back in the park she is obviously more aware, creating a tense moment when the engineers visit the park (frozen) to remove one of the host. These are the figures you can buy at the gift store, who are playing god on the ground. Taking with them someone due to violent concerns.
I think we are finally getting somewhere, the faults have been picked up by the board of directors, yet they are going to have to fight Ford and the Hosts who will revolt. It will have religious undertones before turning into something more bloody. Will Ford use these defective host to his advantage or be over-run by them? I’m holding in there for episode 8 now with more attention.
I think we are starting to get somewhere now, I say that lightly as we are still expanding the world of the theme-park at the same time. If there’s going to be a revolution of some kind, it may not be until the second series which all hangs on how episode ten’s received and if there’s still an audience.
So what happened to make me consider this. Firstly we picked up with Meave Millay (Thandie Newton) one of the two hosts whose becoming increasingly aware of her existence. We left her in the workshop, waking up shocking one of the engineers Felix Lutz (Leonardo Nam) who has a knack with host behaviours. Now there is one host whose eyes have been really opened to what is going on. Using her position and situation to her advantage. All she has to do now is cause the uprising, can that really be done in 4 episodes or will that be the series finale?
We have left the two brothers for this episode, which I hope will be picked up next week. We spend about 2 scene with older Hector (Ed Harris) riding with Teddy Flood (James Marsden) who’se being used through the Wyatt narrative to get to the maze, that’s if Dr. Ford allows him that far. The image of the maze is starting to be found elsewhere in the park. Ford is not afraid in throwing in the map, which can be seen as a personal motif or even a rouse?
Picking up from last week in more detail is the shocking finding of the transmitters found in the older hosts, and the more contemporary use of them in the park. This is a thread that starts to look at other malfunctions in the park. The makers of the showing are putting in a lot and trying to spread it out among the shows run, picking it up as and when. For me this is a slow process, (probably as I’m not a serial box-set watcher) which I hope, I say hope will pay off with some answers soon as they are adding more and more and not getting far fast. I’m getting impatient with this rich world that has a lot potentially going for it
A nice surprise with boy, who turns out to be a first generation host, along with a host version of Arnold. Using imagery that we find in A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001) are we in that same or similar universe, who are not willing to create a “David” android? Ultimately this is another story-line that is starting to develop, for me I want the realisation to occur in more of the hosts.
Lastly if you look closely in one of the early scenes you might see a very cheeky nod to the original film as Bernard Lowe (Jeffrey Wright) goes to the surface to do some investigating. Maybe we never really left that park, which has simply updated as technology has? Now that’s something to stick around for.