Saturday, February 7, 2009

Flashback to the Best Picture List For a Moment

JJ Abrams missed the boat on this year's Best Picture race, and was probably kicking himself about 48 hours ago (get it? You will).

This year, all of the Best Picture nominees are told through flashback sequences.

Benjamin Button
flashes through time to tell the love story of a man aging backwards and his lady love.

Milk is a flashback story where Milk narrates his own life on a tape recorder before it goes back to the present at the end.

The Reader is all about how Michael Berg looks back on one summer of his adolescence where he had an affair with an older woman.

Frost/Nixon flashes back and forth between interviews and life.

And Slumdog Millionaire is a flashback within a flashback, almost. Hard to explain, but it really works for the movie and it's not that hard to watch.

I blame the JJ Effect. TV and Film-maker JJ Abrams is most known for three television shows (Felicity, Alias, and Lost) and a few films (Regarding Henry, Armageddon, MI:3, Cloverfield). He's also a reported fan of The Twilight Zone, and it shows in his TV. He's known for non-linear story telling, which makes the plot seem more engaging and twisted. This is especially true of Alias and Lost. I think that since Hollywood has noticed the popularity of Lost, more and more filmmakers are willing to make non-linear movies for smarter and more attentive audiences. Movies like Atonement prove this.

And for that, I thank them. Stories that are out of order are interesting and fresh.

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