xXx: Return of Xander Cage
The last forty minutes of the movie do come together in a pretty diverting way.
Martin Scorsese's "The King of Comedy" is one of the most arid, painful, wounded movies I've ever seen. It's hard to believe Scorsese made it; instead of the big-city life, the violence and sexuality of his movies like "Taxi Driver" and "Mean Streets," what we have here is an agonizing portrait of lonely, angry people with their emotions all tightly bottled up. This is a movie that seems ready to explode -- but somehow it never does.
That lack of release disturbed me the fist time I saw "The King of Comedy," back in January. I kept straining forward, waiting for the movie to let loose and it kept frustrating me. Maybe that was the idea. This is a movie about rejection, with a hero who never admits that he has been rejected and so there is neither comic nor tragic release -- just the postponement of pain.
I walked out of that first screening filled with dislike for the movie. Dislike, but not disinterest. Memories of "The King of Comedy" kept gnawing at me, and when people asked me what I thought about it, I said I wasn't sure. Then I went to see the movie a second time, and it seemed to work better for me -- maybe because I was able to walk in without any expectations. I knew it wasn't an entertainment, I knew it didn't allow itself an emotional payoffs, I knew the ending was cynical and unsatisfactory, and so, with those discoveries no longer to be made, I was free to simply watch what was on the screen.
What I saw the second time, better than the first, were the performances by Robert De Niro, Jerry Lewis, Diahnne Abbott and Sandra Bernhard, who play the movie's most important characters. They must have been difficult performances to deliver, because nobody listens in this film; everybody's just waiting for the other person to stop talking so they can start. And everybody's so emotionally isolated in this movie that they don't even seem able to guess what they're missing.