Movies »Day of the Locust

day of the locustI hesitated recommending Day of the Locust, not because of the cinematography (it's some of the most artful and exquisite ever committed to film); not because of the acting (Karen Black, William Atherton, and Donald Sutherland, all at the top of their games, deliver some of their greatest performances); not because of the dynamic directing and writing by duo John Schlesinger and Waldo Salt; not because of the source material (previous Brix Pick Miss Lonelyhearts and Day of the Locust by Nathanael West), but simply because it may be one of the most depressing movies ever.

The second viewing is even harder than the first because you're anticipating all the horrible things that you know are going to happen while you become much more aware of all the little horrible things you forgot. Seriously, this movie made me feel bad after watching it. But don't let that stop you from finally being able to view this on DVD.

It's truly a phenomenal film: set in early 1940s Hollywood, it meanders through the lives of an art director, the empty, shallow wannabe starlet he befriends, her sad ex-vaudvillian father, and Homer Simpson (surprisingly, according to Matt Groening not where he got the name from): a gentle but twisted soul filled with fear and confusion who explodes under the weight of the insane world that surrounds him. I couldn't recommend any movie that makes the world seem so dismal more.

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Posted on June 4, 2007

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