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Movie Reviews

The Majestic  
The Majestic Cast : Jim Carrey, Martin Landau, Allen Garfield, Laurie Holden, Bruce Campbell, Amanda Detmer
Director :
Frank Darabont
Written By :
Michael Sloane
Producers :
Frank Darabont

Official Site : Warner Brothers
Trailer : Quicktime (Various Res)
Released By :
Universal Pictures (Castle Rock Entertainment), Warner Brothers (Internationally)

The Majestic is a feel good “American” movie in the tradition of the films of the great Frank Capra. It is on the outside about American patriotism and pride, but when examined more closely about human patriotism and pride. It is about the willingness to stand up for what is right, right in your heart not in the socially ingrained sense of the current time, the willingness to change for the right.

The film runs about two and a half hours, and it had no trouble keeping my attention. Frank Darabont (The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile) directs, liking to go long. The essential breakdown of the movie is into three acts. The first is the introduction Jim Carrey’s character, Peter Appleton, as a screenwriter residing in Hollywood. Right from the beginning, Appleton is a “yes-man”, first being shown amidst the discussion, of producers, on the ways to “alter”, or rather ridiculously butcher, his screenplay to get it ready for the upcoming filming. Appleton sits silent, the look on Carrey’s face perfectly expressing his anger repressed only by his apparent fear to stand up for himself and his work. As this part of the movie carries on, eventually Appleton is accused of being a communist and, thus, “blacklisted”. Upon learning this Appleton goes for a car ride, and in an accident, loses his memory.

The second act of the movie has Appleton, with no memory of whom he is, finding himself in a small dismal town, dismal we learn due to the fact that many of its young citizens were the victims of war. Appleton’s striking resemblance to one of the boys whose body was never found triggers excitement throughout the town making for some of the most feel-good and touching moments in the movies this year.

The reactions of the town’s people to Appleton (who they think is “Luke”) are very real and the script avoids being full of clichéd plot devices. They question Luke’s ten-year absence, as we would expect any sane person to do in such a situation. There is even a point where there is a possibility (only hinted at), albeit far fetched, that Appleton really is Luke. Appleton befriends almost all of the town’s people, reopens “The Majestic” (a movie theater once run by Luke’s father but closed after the devastation of the losses suffered during war), and falls in love with the girl Luke was once in love with. She doubts all along that he is really Luke but still tries to believe. This leads into the third act in which Appleton returns to face his accusers in Hollywood. The scenes in which Peter finally stands up for himself is truly moving, truly in the style of Frank Capra, and are absolutely great.

Jim Carrey gives yet another great dramatic performance. He, in my opinion, is one of the best actors in the world right now. Darabont’s direction in conjunction with David Tattersall’s cinematography makes for a beautiful looking movie. From beginning to end I was loved with the look, “feel”, tone and atmosphere of this movie. Whether you are American or not (I am not, and neither is the film’s star), this movie stirs the pride in everyone. It is an instant classic.

My Rating: A (5 out of 5)
By Blair Bass

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