Film Reflection: The 1920s is Making a Comeback

Am I the only one who’s noticed that there’s been a big influx of 1920s movies in the past twenty years?

I think I first began to pay attention when Public Enemies came out. Brilliant film; Johnny Depp is flawless as always (but don’t watch that movie when you’re having a bad day).

I am sure there are a few in between that I am forgetting but the most recent one I have watched was Lawless with Tom Hardy, Shia LeBouf, and Jessic Chastain. It was really well done.

The thing about doing historically accurate 1920s movies is that you cannot do them without a) lots of violence b) tons of booze and smoking and c) at least some sexual nuances.  It is the characteristics of the times.

My deal with violence has always been do not have violence just for the heck of it.  There is a huge difference between violence for the sake of violence and violence because there is a point to be made.

In both Public Enemies and Lawless, I think the violence was almost a commentary on why the amount of violence during the 1920s was not okay.  People were being killed for being associated with someone’s bootlegging business or because you ran and got coffee for the big gang leader.

I think the fine line that has to be carefully walked with 1920s movies is the story line (I did not mean for that to be a pun).  Any director or writer/group of writers can create a good plot line with lots of action and explosions and sexy women dancing.  But it takes a creative mind and collaborative effort to create a film, which tells a story about characters who are relatable no matter what the time period or genre.

The two big upcoming 1920s films are Gangster Squad and The Great Gatsby.  Now, I have not read The Great Gatsby (which is basically a literary crime for someone who loves literature as much as I do) but I have been told by others who have read the book that based on what is in the trailer, there are some pretty significant deviations from the book, which might effect the overall message of The Great Gatsby as a whole.  Granted, it is a film adaptation; things change because books and films are two extremely different mediums.  Whether or not The Great Gatsby can be hailed as a wonderful film remains to be seen.  I will say this: the artistic scope and scale for the film looks beautiful.

Gangster Squad appears to have a lot of potential at least on the surface.  With acclaimed names such as Sean Penn and Josh Brolin on the cast list and the up and coming young faces of Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, the performances should be pretty good.  Director Ruben Flesicher is making the transition from television to film which could go either way.

In any case, I think both of these films will be entertaining and will definitely get people talking.


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