By David Poland firstname.lastname@example.org
Hot Button – You Are What You Emulate
Truly original films are a rare commodity. They always were. But upon passing its hundredth birthday, the film industry is evolving in the way all the other arts have. There are plenty of remakes, but more interestingly, there are now more and more films that involve high quality talent, with high end aspirations, that can be tracked back to earlier film, particularly the early 70s era of independent minded studio magic.
There are two different forms of this phenomenon. The first form is film that flatters past greatness by Evolutionary Imitation. Those include:
Network + Erin Brockovich + Syriana = Michael Clayton
Days of Heaven + Heaven’s Gate + McCabe & Mrs. Miller + Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid + The Long Riders = The Assassination Of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford
In the first case, there is story subtext in the first act that is clearly reflective of Network. I completely believe Tony Gilroy when he admits he admires the film and when he says he wasn’t cribbing. In the case of Jesse James, there are a variety of wildly familiar style points that Andrew Dominik has built into his own vision of this not unfamiliar story.
The other form, which I find more interesting, are the Completionist Films, such as:
Prince of The City + Superfly + Hoodlum + The French Connection + Mr. Untouchable = American Gangster
Hotel Rwanda + Shooting Dogs + Shake Hands With The Devil (the doc) = Shake Hands With The Devil