Friday, January 15, 2010

#172: Faces

1968, TSPDT Rank #469

John Cassavetes is famous as being one of the great directors of actors, and in Faces he seems to be at the point of his career where he seems to have really perfected his method of directing actors. There is a common misconception that all of Cassavetes' films used improvisational acting, but this is only true of his debut, the groundbreaking but chaotic mess of a film Shadows. Here all of the action is scripted, but he allows the actors to use their expertise to create their interpretation of the character - stripping down the acting craft to it's most basic element and allowing the viewer to feel closer to the characters. It's about the disintegration of a marriage, but also more than that: it's about the American people as a society, the confused and floundering way that we people relate to the opposite sex, and how the middle-age period brings out all of the brutal truths in how you live your life. It's utterly believable, and often painful to watch because of this. However, this is a truly important film, if not necessarily a great one, and a good way to start understanding what Cassavetes was trying to accomplish with his work.

(Rating: 8/10)

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