Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Looking for Jimmy's End: Part five of five

BT: Moore has always been sneaking songs into his comics, which is probably the worst possible medium for conveying music, and he's always dabbled in recording tunes, so it's no surprise that he'd put a lot of thought into the first proper soundtrack for one of his works.

I do tend to dismiss a lot of his earlier singles as pure novelty - after burning through Watchmen, From Hell and V For Vendetta, the lovely wife said she thought Moore was a lot less cool after she heard March of the Sinister Ducks, although she does sometimes sing snatches of the lyrics while she's doing housework. And I alwys thought the Gangsters Never Die song was deeply, deeply annoying.

The diegtic approach is always a fine idea - it certainly worked for The Wire, which only broke that rule for the obligatory end-season montage. And it is another fairly obvious David Lynch influence, Lynch is always pulling that sort of trick, and even making fun of it on occasions with various lip synching jokes. And Lynch is another filmmaker who juxtaposes cheeery love songs with awful events, although that's a trick that every hack movie maker has caught onto in recent years.

I certainly didn't notice the overlap between the films, but that's another of those things you can only do in a film, or a series of film. Y'know, I think that might be one of the things I like most about these films, they're clearly having so much fun making them, and revelling in all the little tricks and illusions that cinema brings. It's the sort of thing rookie filmmakers always do, and I always find it really charming, even if I'm grimacing at the more embarrassing moments. A little enthusiasm goes a long way.

KS: So, do you have any favourite or effecting moments from the films? I've been watching them again, when writing about the songs, and have come across one or two parts which jump out when in context with the rest of the films.

I'm thinking particularly of the scene where Faith is speaking on the phone making her 'emergency' call. at a certain point the inflection in her voice drops and it goes from risque patter to a dead toned statement. It's scary and sad, particularly when you see it in relation to Matchbright's taunting in 'Upon Reflection'.

It's the combination of those two scenes, along with her conversation with Jimmy when they are dancing together, that you begin to get a sense of Faith as someone who is paying a very heavy price for something that is not her fault. Suddenly her character springs into sharp relief and becomes more complex and so do the films by extension. 

BT: I'm not sure if there is any one moment that really stands out over everything else, although I am a total sucker for any scene where characters enter a state of climactic transcendence. When I try to think about my favourite bits from the film, it tends to be more of a mood or atmosphere that captures my fancy.

I like how sensual all those exact preparations are in Act Of Faith, and how Faith's home, and the music and even the act of stuffing some plastic in the mouth takes on a smooth, sexy context. And I really like it when it all suddenly sours and all those rich visual tones and thick sounds suddenly become stifling and rotten, and becomes too much for Faith as she chokes on her last breath. That switch is really well done, and emphasises the horror, as her silly little ritual goes horribly wrong.

Upon Reflection is still my least favourite of the films, because it's just so mean, but watching it again, it's remarkable how much detailed information is packed into that single static and warped shot. A Professional Relationship is much more palatable, and while it does expose how heavy handed some of Moore's dialogue can sound when it comes out of actual mouths, I could listen to Moore talk bollocks all day long.

There are more individual moments in the full Jimmy's End film, and my favourite scenes usually involve Darrell D'Silva looking totally befuddled as he wanders around slowly, but I do like the slow dance scene, mainly because I always like a slow dance scene, especially when the dancers are using their dance to hold off total despair.

And again, there is that moment of "the loight", when the brightness of the world overwhelms everything and leaves the story on a note of hope. They're strange little films full of strange little people (some of whom might be strange big gods), but we're all part of the same divine light, and sometimes we need to be pushed into it, or we'll be trapped by our own guilt.

That's why Jimmy's End feels so optimistic to me, even with all the cruelty and venom. Moore's stories have often been all about the eternal desire to drag ourselves out of the filth and into the light, and this is another fine example. 

Which is why I'm also very keen to see the last film in this series, to see what sort of fun they're having with a bow tie that wraps everything up. Moore always likes his works to be well rounded and full of synchronicity, and a series of short films is a good medium for that sort of thing.

As a long time reader of Moore's work, it's pleasing to see how much he's enjoying this new medium, getting to craft his small cinematic gems without interference from money-men or bull-headed collaborators.  I hope he makes some more, once that final film was done, and turns this late-career interest in movies into another decent chapter in his story.

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