Saturday, 27 February 2010
'All men are created equal. No matter how hard you try, you can never erase those words.'
Directed by Gus Van Sant
Milk, a highly polished piece work, and yet the story is so tightly wound and mechanical, this biopic of Harvey Milk was disappointing. Sean Penn's performance as the iconic gay activist is impressive, and yet come the hour mark and the new boyfriend, I found his character just going through the motions of failed election campaign after failed election campaign. These may be the facts, but Van Sant feels too concerned to cram Milk's legacy into 140 minutes. There was frustration at not grasping what gave the champion of gay rights this infectious drive. Van Sant's use of archive, injected a semblance of what Milk was up against and the gay rights movement, something the film should have developed further. The film was campaign trail 24-7, along with the 'honey I'm sorry I'm late for dinner' scenes. That said, Milk does have several excellent performances, Penn is flanked by Emile Hirsch, who delivers an enigmatic performance as a gay college drop out - cum - political activist and Josh Brolin never disappoints. The actors flex their muscles and yet there not much intuition in understanding this important period of American history. Maybe the film is not meant to be a history lesson, Hollywood being Hollywood, maybe it's about the film star giving his all in a portrayal of a gay icon, if so, well done Sean Penn.