Friday, July 11, 2008

Review - August

Everything started off so great for Tom and Josh Sterling six months ago, before they realized that their start-up business could not find its niche in the expanding market of technology. In August, two brothers try not to let their extremely hot internet business, "Land Shark," slip through their fingers. Based on a true story, one month before the September 11th attacks struck New York, in a dangerous Wallstreet marketplace where shares and stocks can dive and one bad month could mean the end of their buisness altogether.

Directed by Austin Chick, August is a very well done and concise film. It centers around the development of Josh Hartnett's character Tom, who is in every way trying embody the likes of Michael Douglas's character, "Gordon Gekko," from Wall Street. The film runs in the same vein as Wall Street or Boiler Room and does not disapoint. To much of the film's and Hartnett's credit, August is well written and flawlessly acted. The film has a short runtime of only 88 minutes, it is however, a complete film. It does not feel too short or that anything relevant is missing, instead it is sweet and to the point, with an outstanding payoff!

Hartnett, who is usually hit-or-miss for me, shines in the role. I have to say, it is his best work to date. He embodies a perfect "tycoon" type throughout most of the film, never letting his guard down and remaining quick-tonuged and to the point, never leaving without making a dramatic impact. The dialogued delivered by Hartnett is amazing, I have never seen so much enthusiasm from him before. It was like a different actor in Hartnett's body. Hartnett's swagger really came off great in the film as well, it added an undeniable believability to his performance. Another part of Hartnett's character that was so likable, was his relationship with his brother/business partner. Their conflicted relationship is a perfect mirror to their dwindling business. The scenes between the two brothers are amazing and the dialogue is also perfect.

All three acts of this film are very strong. From the high's to the extreme low's all of the dialogue is smart, witty, and most of all powerful. The film has a great sense of pacing and with all of the detailed story development, it's done well. Within the second act, the downward spiral that we watch Tom try to claw his way out of in the film is very significant. There is one particular scene, Tom is in an elevator and the expression on his face combined with the metaphor of going down in the elevator was aboslutely ingenious together. Like I had previously said, the film is completely character driven and done without a hitch.

I did not have any complaints about this film and really enjoyed it. Josh Hartnett surprised me with a role that I could hear him actually talking! He furthermore, gave me real emotion and not just a pretty face and dark eyes. Now I am intrigued to see if Hartnett has any more dynamic performances up his sleeve. The entire cast is strong, but this is Hartnett's film and he carries it throughout. One major bonus is near the ending, all I will say is, David "Muthafucking" Bowie with a perfect cameo! Overall, August is a great dialogue and character driven film that gives us a perfect window into the up's and down's in our capitalistic "cutthroat" society and pays credit to the saying, "flash in the pan."