This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.
selomeee’s review published on Letterboxd:
This review may contain spoilers.
just realizing i forgot to log this but i've been thinking about it constantly since i watched!!!!!
basically as soon as the central conflict got going, all i could think about was something i remember from one of my favorite professors in college. she was talking about how there are so many films that are about filmmaking, but also that you can look at basically any film and somehow make it about filmmaking. definitely applies here!
i was so transfixed by this fervent obsession gleeson's character has with being remembered as a composer. friendship is life-affirming, and life is art-affirming, so cutting off farrell's character proves how hollow his artmaking practice is. and the fact that he cuts off his own fingers mimics that flawed approach — he's desperate to have a legacy, any legacy at all, rather than being driven by an approach to create something honest and real. fingers are violin-affirming! violins are composition affirming! cutting off your own fingers isn't gonna help you get your work done the way you say it will... unless your real motive is that you're worried your music alone won't be memorable without some hardship attached to it. but the tortured artist is only a romantic ideal when the artist is tortured by no fault of his own, buddy!
but my favorite part of this movie was a moment that's really easy to miss. when farrell is pouring gasoline all around gleeson's house before lighting it on fire, there's a quick second where the gas gets onto the lens of the camera, blurring the frame, reminding you that this is a story being written, directed, acted, shot. and remembered!