End Of Watch. Jeezo. Movie of the year? I think so.

I wasn’t expecting all that much having turned up for a mid Monday afternoon showing of a cop movie by a director I didn’t know.

Mid November.  The Auditorium was nearly full!  I was taken aback.  And then perhaps 2012’s movie of the year unfolded. (A good starting point was that it was Studio Canal funded.  I always like that.)

What follows is 2 hours of engrossing cinema without peer this year.  The relationship between Jake Gylenhall and Michael Pena has to be seen to be believed (it maybe even challenges that of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Joaquim Pheonix in the Master). It has similarities to The Master in that the plot is, at best, loose but it matters less here because one is so utterly absorbed in the unfolding relationship between the white and Latino “brothers” and “heroes” that Gylenhall and Pena become.

The movie is episodic.  Each building the picture of two committed cops who live for the badge but have a life beyond it.  And set in a horrifying community of black and Hispanic (specifically Mexican) warfare and bad Mutha’s.  (If bad language offends you I’d give this movie a swift sidestep.)

Shot hand held, with a slightly ropey reasoning for this,  it feels as real as a documentary and that’s really the strength behind it.  Because you are drawn into the characters’ reality.  A reality that revolves around a range of truly harrowing day to day high(low)lights to buddy chat that’s hilarious in a South Central LA that is scary.  Real scary because the bad ass men (and women) in this movie are baaaad aaaaass.

It’s brilliantly directed from the off by David Ayer (better known as a writer) and the early scene in which Gylenhall and Pena cruise the streets of LA to the soundtrack, super-loud,  of Public Enemy’s “Harder than you Think” really does set the scene.

Later, but early in the development, the boys do a raid on a house, seemingly innocent, the discovery (one of many) that follow actually chills the blood.  It’s a jaw dropping moment.  And one I won’t forget in a long time .  And what’s more, it felt like you were there in the building with them.

This is great movie making.  Completely shocking, utterly beguiling.  Hard and yet soft.  Loving yet hateful.

It’s 2012’s Drive without the gloss.

It’s a 9/10 must see.

One of the truly great nights in politics

When Barack Obama rode into power in November 2008 on a wave of optimism, change, belief, creativity and downright sexiness the world gasped.  American politics had not been so riveting since the 1960’s and certainly not as glamorous.  This online ad encapsulated it all for me.

And then reality kicked.  The mother of all recessions and hostile antipathy towards what’s now known as Obamacare.

One of Mitt Romney’s central strategies was, in creating 12million new jobs (really?), he would revoke Obamacare and return America to the most obviously polarised class structure in the Western world.

Obama meanwhile was criticised for continuing the Afghan war and for appearing remote; too much a thinker, not enough a baby-hugger.

He was doomed.

Five things saved him I believe.  Catching, and killing, Bin Laden (in a brave and high risk operation), Hurricane Sandy, Clinton’s speech, his wife and a brilliantly single-minded and principled political agenda that reached out Liberally to the WHOLE of America.

While Romney seduced the white vote with constant appeals to their pockets “it’s the economy stupid.” Obama consistently ploughed his furrow of social justice.

The Democrats are painted as Socialists (albeit dressed in Blue) but they strike me, under Obama, as the world’s great Liberals, balancing vote winning (in the underpriveleged) social issues with strong foreign affairs and a balanced view on the economy; it’s not the economy at ALL costs.

This chart said it all when I saw it last week.  It demonstrated what a danger Romney would be given the keys to the White House (we all saw his ineptitude abroad earlier this year in the UK)

The statistics are overwhelming and, guess what, the only country favouring Romney was Pakistan; default home of Al Quaeda.  World, we got a close call here but escaped unharmed.

Obama’s return to power was anything but certain.  He had to rely on a strong ethnic vote (and his ethnicity unquestionably helped there – were a white candidate standing against Romney the result would probably have been very different.  Should Hilary Clinton choose to stand in 2016 her support amongst female voters may have a similiar effect).  He had to scrap on the streets of the swing states for his life.  He only performed moderately in the TV debates.  He was saved in the end by his sticking to principles but his negative campaigning was far removed from the elegance of the Obey campaign.

This TV ad from last month though was a masterclass in Liberal balanced communication and I hope it made its mark.  There were so many that one will never know and it seems it was the doorstep canvassing that really made the difference.  Obama’s strategy in micro-marketing being better and more energetic.

A note on the TV coverage.  I watched it here, in the UK, flipping between the BBC, Sky, CNBC and CNN.  By a country mile the most interesting, insightful and challenging coverage came from CNN.

The BBC was plodding and boring.

So, America has made a brave, some might say, and reasoned, others might say, judgement call.  At the end of an administration that has see the economy hit by its very own Hurricane Sandy and against a presentable and domestically credible conservative voice offering the promise of a return to “The American Dream” Obama has held on, scraped back into power and given the opportunity to carry on his work, Not only that but The Senate surprisingly remained in the hands of the Democrats.

One major blot on the horizon; the Republicans still hold power in the house and so the opportunity to quash social change policies remains real and present.

One word sums it up again though.


I’m Mark Gorman and I approved this message.

Lindsey Redding, RIP

Lindsey and I worked together at Hall Advertising in the 1980’s.  He was a brilliant art director and was a good friend until he emigrated with Jo to New Zealand.

He has written a blog about suffering from cancer that, to my mind, should be required reading for all cancer sufferers because of its wit, its humour but most importantly its honesty.

I hope it stays up and that the medical profession who he talked about with respect come to find it.

You can read it here.

God bless you Lindsay.

Beasts of the Southern Wild – film review

If you dislike hand held camera work stay away.

If you dislike child led philosophy stay away.

If you dislike the American Dream stay away.

If you dislike fantasies stay away.

If you dislike originality stay away.

If you dislike cinema in which your brain needs to engage stay away.

If you think cinema is great art on occasion and can make a difference from time time to time see Beasts of the Southern Wild. (****the Oscars).