VIGGO: This week on "Sunday Morning" (Dec. 11)

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Good - DVD Review

Source: Inside Impulse.
Found By: Chrissie
Categories: Good Reviews
Our thanks to Chrissie for surfacing this nice review of Good now out on Blu Ray and DVD.
© Good Films/Lionsgate.
by Brendan Campbell

There are plenty of World War II films where the Nazis are the faceless enemy, but it's always interesting when a movie shows how things were for those in Germany who were wrapped up in the entire conflict, and even became involved in the fascist regime even if it wasn't something they believed in and even laughed at back when Hitler first began shouting propaganda.

In Good, a film adaptation of C.P. Taylor's critically acclaimed play, we follow the life of university professor John Halder (Viggo Mortensen), a good, kind-hearted man who lives at home with his emotionally stunted wife, their two kids, and his sick mother, and takes the brunt of the household responsibilities upon himself when there. The film follows Halder over a decade, jumping forward and back throughout the film, following his honorary entry into the SS ranks in the Nazi army in 1937 due to a book he wrote that caught the eye of Hitler, all the way back to 1933 when he began writing said book, and scoffed at the idea of Hitler ever becoming anything more than another voice trying to get attention that would disappear in good time.

Throughout the film we see just how quickly an entire society spiraled out of control during this period, and how people who wished to do only good somehow ended up mixed up in things, if only out of pure ignorance that bigger things were happening, or in a realization that there was not much more they could do other than fold once the Nazi higher ups asked you for a favour. We've seen this a few times before, and we know that not every Nazi was a hate-filled racist murderer, though it's still interesting to wonder what you may have done were you in John Halder's position, fictional or not, as it did happen, and it's a scary position to have to put yourself in, even in an imaginary scenario.

The emotional aspects of films like this can be tricky, as there's always the natural sadness that events like this occur in our world, and that alone can sometimes make a film seem stronger than it may truly be. In Good, the characters do their part to show us just how people changed during this time, and how the changing environment around them caused changes in themselves as well.

Take Halder for instance, who speaks with his Jewish friend, Maurice Israel Gluckstein (John Isaacs), early in the film about Hitler not being taken seriously, only to later be coaxed into joining the Nazi party. He defends his choice to Maurice saying there's no better way to steer this thing in the right direction without being a part of it. This implies a sense of good, and understanding of what he has to do as a person to do his part in righting a wrong.

Of course, it's not that simple, as Halder soon finds, and he quickly becomes content with ignoring all that's going on around him in exchange for a better home, and a better job, with the notion that if he just focuses on his work at the university, he's not a part of the evil machine. It's an intriguing position it puts him in as a character, one we're always rooting for to do the right thing, yet frustrated with because he never seems to be doing so, even though we know his hands are somewhat tied.

While there's always the question of right and wrong, or good and evil, one thing that can never be denied is self-preservation. Even if it isn't the most heroic thing, or the most pleasing thing to see, it's natural to think that in a situation where one has to make choices that could alter things to the point of life or death, that one will do all in their power to tilt the weight to the side of life.

Director Vicente Amorim does a good job at keeping the pacing of the film on a constant move forward, even if we're sometimes going backwards. Speaking of, the time jumps are relatively easy to follow, with only one or two occasions where it takes you a moment to realize just which section of time they're in. The play was adapted for the screen by John Wrathall, who does a good job at what was likely a hard task, as upon viewing the film, I believe that even though a good job was done here, it would be hard to beat seeing this story done live in a theater.

The acting is commendable, and the scenes between Mortensen and Isaacs make you wish at times that more of the film focused on their friendship, and the hardships it faced due to the happenings of the time. Jodie Whittaker, who was also in the recently reviewed Perrier's Bounty, once again does solid work, and shows versatility, as I didn't recognize it was her until I saw her interviewed in the special features.

Good is just that, good. It's an interesting look at society, and just how quickly things can change in the face of adversity. The World War II setting has stiff competition that films will always be compared to, and unfortunately, this one doesn't stand out among so many other great choices on the same topic. At the same time, it's definitely worth checking out if you are a fan of the theme, and the idea of seeing just how people change or react to certain situations may surprise you.

Audio & Video

The film is presented in 2.35 Anamorphic Widescreen and looks quite good all around. There are no noticeable distractions while viewing, and no scene that's darker than it should be, or grainy. The audio is also comes through on the plus side in 5.1 Dolby Digital. The quieter scenes are still completely audible, and the dialogue is always clear and understandable.

Special Features

Interviews - This featurette is an hour long and contains clips from multiple interviews from the cast and crew of Good that include: Viggo Mortensen, John Isaacs, Jodie Whittaker, Steven Mackintosh, Mark Strong, Director Vicente Amorim, Producer Miriam Segal, Writer John Wrathall, Composer/Music Arranger Simon Lacey, Production Designer Andrew Laws, Dialect Coach Andrew Jack, Costume Designer Gyorgyi Szakacs. Each person talks for various allotments of time, and speak about their characters, thoughts on the film, and work that had to be done on the set. It's interesting to see the different perspectives of so many people involved, and even though one could argue it could have been put together a bit nicer, it's still a lot of information to be taken in for fans of the film.

Behind the Scenes - This featurette comes in at just under 30 minutes, and is literally behind the scenes video of the filming of the movie. There's no voice over, there are no interviews (not that we'd need more after the first featurette) and there's no music, it's just the actors doing their thing, and us watching them while mixed in with the crew. It's actually quite interesting to just see how the sets look, and seeing the actors just doing their thing stripped of everything but their lines. Some scenes that seemed so quiet and closed are really filmed in a small space that's crammed with 10 other people. Amazing how it all comes together.

Closing Thoughts

Is Good a film worth watching? Sure it is, especially if you're a fan of the era, or Viggo Mortensen. Everything done here is done on a modest budget, and the story they tell at least comes from a bit of a different perspective than the usual World War II films come from, and is more focused on the human aspect of things over the ongoing war.

© Inside Pulse. Images © Good Films/Lionsgate.

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Iolanthe's Quotable Viggo

Categories: Quotable Viggo

As compensation for going Quotableless last week I thought we would have a bit of fun with a quiz. I have a bunch of movie related quotes below but no references, so you can have a go at guessing which film they relate to. But be careful as some are quite tricksy and a few films appear more than once. And don't try to separate the three LotR films or you'll drive yourselves nuts!

Write down your answers and post them on Tuesday - not before - so latecomers have time to think. And on Wednesday I'll give you all the answers. This isn't a competition, I won't be marking them and there are no prizes (apart from the chance to go 'yeah, I knew that!'), it's just a little something to get those brain cells going as we slide towards winter hibernation.

Oh, and... the picture below is absolutely no help whatsoever. At least with the quiz.

'The character is a quiet, introspective man who has spent his life suppressing his emotions. And they are painful emotions, indeed. Mortensen does an exquisite job of revealing just enough of the bottled-up angst to make us aware of the internal turmoil his character battles.'

'My character is an average person in an extraordinary situation who has to make difficult decisions. It was nice to play a guy with a job and a family, rather than a guy with a big axe to grind.'

'Just like in the story itself, there were constant surprises to deal with and just when you think you've achieved some victory, some greater obstacle presents itself. It's like some ridiculous video game that gets worse with every level.'

"I dunno, maybe I'm channeling some barbaric ancestor or something."

'I was like Tom Sawyer, and they paid me, and I could watch the crew on set as much as I wanted.'

'It's like a great thoroughly satisfying and complex piece of music to me, this movie.'

'His participation in this movie was agreed at a moment's notice. It went all so quickly that he read the script while flying out...'

'The executive producer insisted that the actor spent the entire day, "I think even the weekends, filthy and with his make up on, because he said that he had to feel as uncomfortable as the character in order to portray it correctly." The difference is that, when he wasn't shooting, due to doctor's advice, he would take off his boots and walk barefoot...'

'...I'm surprised they let me do that, actually. There was just a little time before we were going to start and I just asked, "What if I did this myself?'

"He is shocked when he looks into the mirror but he doesn't stop; he thinks he'll have time to think things through later,"

'Viggo Mortensen... is inescapably Shakespearean in the meaty thrust and parry of his role...'

'Then I remember a real struggle for what was going to happen, what the moments were going to be between the two of them. And something happened, it crystallized, and suddenly Viggo was on fire.'

'Viggo Mortensen undergoes an interesting transformation in his key scene... we believe him when he's a nice guy, and we believe him even more when he's not; he doesn't do a big style shift, he simply turns off his people-pleasing face.'

'I can only praise Mortensen for the consistency of his character's voice and for the actor's ability to draw textual nuance from lines outside of his native tongue.'

'When you look into Mortensen's eyes, you're convinced that he's come to terms with the fact that he's condemned to eternal damnation and is living his life accordingly. His performance is chilling and mesmerizing, perhaps the greatest of his career.'

"There is a strange wizened quality to my face in [.......] that is beyond any make-up, and beyond any explanation," he says. "It happens in movies, every once in a while. You go further than you intended. There are looks on my face in that film that have only come from a great leap of faith."

'The quality that really stood out to me was his quietness.... he has a still, modest quality to him that was perfect for these guys. I noticed that in some of the movies I'd seen him in, and he also had it in real life.'

'Mortensen doesn't appear until an hour has passed - but when he does he immediately marks himself as one of those actors who doesn't need fancy lighting to be incandescent.'

"Sort of like a lethal butler"

'He's a young Sean Connery but with a grittier style.'

As always, you will find all previous Quotables here in our Webpages.

© Images © Westmount.

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Your October Reminders

Click on image to enlarge.

© Images © New Line Procutions Inc. Collage by Chrissie.

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Estereo Fonica Translation

Translation by Ollie, Rio and Zoe
Source: Estereofonica EU
Many thanks to Ollie, Rio and Zoe for translating the short interview with Viggo from Estereo Fonica (posted earlier by Dom).

Viggo Talks About His Role In 'The Road'

© 2929/Dimension Films.
Viggo Mortensen speaks perfect Spanish. Although he was born in New York 51 years ago, he spent part of his childhood in Venezuela and Argentina.

In his twenty-six year career, which began in 1984 with a TV miniseries, he has travelled through fantasy and drama and was once nominated for the Oscar - for the film Eastern Promises.

El Tiempo spoke with him about The Road, a film in which he stars and which opens in Colombia this weekend. The film is based on the novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy (No Country for Old Men), which describes the relationship between a father and his son in a post-apocalyptic world.

There's a pessimistic atmosphere to this story. Do you feel hopeful about the future?

Yes, I agree with what my character says toward the end of the film: "If I were God, I would make the world just as it is now and no different.2 It's not that I could change the world in a radical way or that by changing my life I could gain the acceptance of others. We all share this planet and nothing more remains for us than to do things the best we can. I don't believe humanity is so inherently evil or stupid as to repeat the errors that have been committed. I believe that there is an evolution of the spirit and that is seen in the film's story.

As an actor, what challenge did this film present for you?

It was more of an emotional than a physical challenge. In other films, I´ve already played roles that demanded tolerating extreme temperatures or physical activity. I´ve played psychologically deep roles, but not in the sense of having to keep up a constant pressure as in this one. There were two things that worried me: one was how to get this feeling of grief, guilt and sadness to connect with the environment, and second, how to make my part interesting. I never want to bore people or be like a hammer beating on the head of the audience.

The film reflects on the struggle not to lose the sense of humanity. Are there things that remind you of that in your everyday life?

Of course, and almost always they are the most simple things, like some gestures from people, a smile. What matters in the end are the compassionate details. It doesn´t matter how many things you have in life or how long you are going to live; what matters is how you live and how we share with others. In the film, we can see what a difficult road must be travelled to reach that conclusion.

What has this character meant to you with respect to the relationship with your father and with your son?

A feeling, in general, of understanding and tolerance. Something I remember from my past is judging my father about everything. He is still living and it seems sacred to me to be able to share what little time we have together and to try to learn from him. I also appreciate a lot what I've learned from my son. That's something that I like about this story, that it reminds us that we should be noble with the people we love, without expecting to be repaid.

© Estereofonica EU. Images © 2929/Dimension Films.

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Viggo in Playboy magazine (Germany)

Source: Playboy Germany.
Found By: Sallyangelino
Our thanks to Sallyangelino at Virtual Viggo for providing the following scans from the October issue of Playboy magazine (previously posted by Chrissiejane in The Road thread.)

Click on scans to enlarge.

And we are grateful to Sallyangelino for now providing this translation of the article.


by Rudiger Sturm

Actor Viggo Mortensen about survivability, killing and why you shouldn't visit him under no circumstances

Playboy: Mr. Mortensen, you show your survival skills on the screen once again. How well would you do if you were marooned in the wilderness?

Mortensen: I could struggle along, absolutely. I've always loved to stay in the great outdoors all of my life. I go camping, go hiking and fishing. Therefore, I prefer to shoot a film at such locations.

Playboy: The last days of the world drama The Road seem to be not too much fun....

Mortensen: That was not so much due to the external pressures than to the emotional pressure. In the role I had to worry like a homeless person about how to obtain the next meal and have a roof over my head. I constantly lost weight during the filming, it must have been about 15 kilos. And this was only because I was getting into this character so much.

Playboy: However, in many of your roles it is not only about survival, but also about killing. How well would you do with that?

Mortensen: I don't know. Violence arises mostly from fear, and I try not to be controlled by that feeling. On the other hand, I have quite violent dreams. In which I suddenly see new ways of how I can hurt someone. When I dream something like that during the filming of action scenes then I talk to my director about it - in such a way as: "It would be better to stab the knife into this part of the body - and not the other."

Playboy: On the other hand, The Road asks the question: When it comes to pure survival, would you become a killer?

Mortensen: There's no simple answer to that question. But I think there is no reason to kill. Of course you can argue that this happens in self-defense. But if you just survive - without any feeling or spiritual beliefs, and I mean that not only in a religious way - then this makes no sense. You become only a devouring, killing machine.

Playboy: Have there ever been hard times for your ethical stance?

Mortensen: Not to this extent. But in my everyday life there are always moments when I have to decide in a moral way. How honest am I? Do I go into a conversation with a loving attitude? Have I paid attention to other people? And since I have definitely screwed things up from time to time, in both professional and personal situations. Sometimes I could iron out the problem again, sometimes it was too late.

Playboy: You operate the small publishing company Perceval Press - its namesake, the knight Parzival, is someone who fails at first in his life.

Mortensen: There is a moment in the Parzival story, where he and his companions stop at a forest. Then everyone decides to go on his own path through this forest. And I like this idea: You draw on your own path through the chaos of the world, and to find it you have to listen to your inner voice and remain true to yourself - without necessarily paying attention to external rules.

Playboy: How do you listen to your own inner voice in the chaos?

Mortensen: That with the chaos, you can even take that literally. Because my home, it looks terrible. I am not the neatest person on earth. It would be best if you don't visit me at home at all! You shouldn't visit me first of all! But: There are two things that are always clean - my clothes and the dishes. And I wash them by hand only out of principle. Because I always find total concentration by doing that.

Playboy: And you always succeed?

Mortensen: I have to call that to my mind. Especially when I have a lot of stress. If I have to deal with other people - at work - then I try to be very aware how I approach the situation. At the same time I don't take myself too seriously. I know that in the world something much more important is happening. Films are not crucial - and not even football. And I say this despite my enthusiasm for the Club Atletico San Lorenzo de Almagro!

Playboy: But what is the most important thing for you personally?

Mortensen: My son Henry. But in his case, I've learned to restrain personal ambitions. He has long since moved out, now he attends the university. It was hard for me to let him go. Although I had prepared myself, I was surprised by this break. I was alone with my memories, thinking about the moments , when I should have had more time for him.

Playboy: Was this the reason why you made The Road? For that is also an intense father-son story.

Mortensen: I had previously processed these feelings in a poem. In The Road the father-son theme was only a starting point, in the movie it is about much more. And we have barely seen each other during the shooting. Henry is now living his own life, and that's a good thing.

Playboy: Would you mind if he were to follow into your footsteps? He's already had a role in one of your movies.

Mortensen: It was only a minor role in a Spanish historical epic. However, he played in several plays at his school. As for my position - I am neither for or against it. If he wants to do it, then he should do it. But he knows how hard it is to gain ground as an actor.

Playboy: But you also managed to do it.

Mortensen: That was a pure stroke of luck. 98 percent of the actors in the States can not support themselves from their job. And if you don't shoot one film per year at least, then you don't even have any health insurance anymore. I have friends who were great stage actors. Now and then they shot a film for which they received good reviews. But in the end, they grew tired of it and stopped. Because you can't feed a family in this way.

Playboy: So you hopefully don't have to worry about this anymore. Or do the offers for roles become rare?

Mortensen: Not yet. But I do not seek the great media attention. And in a world with such a short attention span, you end up quickly forgotten, if you don't stage a big spectacle around yourself - that hasn't anything to do with a good performance.

Playboy: But for millions of fans of Lord of the Rings, you are unforgettable.

Mortensen: I appreciate that, but frankly I find there's too much hype. There are these huge fan events that some of my colleagues have attended. But the idea of thousands of people who dress themselves up as elves, scares me. The whole thing is crazy. I don't mind, if you don't spot me anymore, and I don't chase after big films.

Playboy: And if one day, everything round you should really calm down?

Mortensen: I can use rest quite well. After all, I'm getting older. And since I no longer have as much energy. If I have too many balls in the air, I have to decide by myself, if I want to finish writing a short story or have enough sleep. And usually I decide on writing. But I am someone who lives a peaceful life. And for that I need time - time for concentration.

© Playboy/Rudiger Sturm. Images © Playboy/Rudiger Sturm.

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Last edited: 10 December 2016 07:48:32