Movie Review – The Sting

Posted: December 7, 2017 in Movie Reviews
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It Stings!

I think I’ve talked enough about Technicolor and 70’s films but I’ll do it again because the joy is limitless. During my semester holidays when I shared a small room without fan with God, I mean Pooja room, and had lime rice as food throughout the day so that I don’t have to waste time to go take sambar, rasam and pause the movie, its these kind of movies that I enjoyed the most, out of all the films I watched during my movie marathon. That’s why I like Hitchcock’s color films the most like Dial M for Murder, Rear Window etc. Sheer joy!

The Sting.png

I got the same feeling and relived the moments, and thanks to Karthigai Deepam I also got Lemon Rice to spice up the nostalgia. Icing on the cake here was that the film happens in 30s. That’s even classier.

The film sparks interest right from scene one with excellent framing, right out of a vintage portrait you can do for a Levi Strauss ad. And the camera pan and lowering with some shakes were beautiful to watch, especially the imperfections. And I’ve always like the Point of View changing from one person to another, one subject to another etc. That shift in focus is amazing.

The story is superbly written and it’s not just literal, it happens cinematically well too. The movie takes a good thirty minutes out of two hours to start with the story. Till then it’s only the back story. And every time till then, the hero focus shifts too, we think the first person who takes cab to be the hero, then it shifts to Hooker (Robert Redford), when we start thinking that he’s The Guy then we get to see that he’s also losing, at one point we think that he’s going to take revenge and going to be the master at that but again another person, now the hero, gets introduced, Henry “Shaw” Gondorff (Paul Newman), the wise man comes into picture. Only after he comes into the story we as well as Hooker himself gets to know how weak he’s.

Paul Newman is a Kickass guy, always. But largely goes unnoticed. He’s like Agni Natchathiram Karthik. At that moment people celebrate him but after that he gets forgotten. But no one could have done the role better than him in the movies that he did. That too with the ones with attitude, which attributes to most in the list. Here too he rocks. That wink he gives when he hears about ‘Poker’, that’s heroism.

Caper films are always awesome, especially the well-made ones with Suits and cast who look classy in them. One reason why Oceans would never get boring no matter what. Another thing is the juncture where a team is assembled. I remember one of the soaps that aired in DD Metro called as Hindustani, where they form a team, even that excited me at a very young age, on top of it they train, which is another awesome thing. Here in Sting the formation of team is not elaborate or classy like that of Oceans where Brad Pitt eats countless amount of burgers by the team he gets a team but The Sting’s recruitment was more organic, simple and profound.

Even though the climax is amazing the best part is the ‘Wire’ where you see Paul Newman in full flow and on top of it in the next chapter you see the Betting Parlor fully formed. In the ‘Wire’ chapter, the making of Betting Parlor comes as intercuts which you can’t appreciate as much as you want but in the next chapter it gets revealed in full glory.

There is deus ex machina in the form a man with leather gloves but it’s something you’d love to have, like the hero introduction moment. In fact it was handled so well here that you appreciate the cheater than being sad for getting cheated. Same with the climax as well. You can’t help but love. There was no pleasure than seeing Lonnegan getting cheated, that look on in face was so much fun. It was like taking revenge on a guy who bullied you in your childhood.


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