And this is a movie that a big part of it is the tone of it. It’s really dark and deep and it’s something that sticks with you as you’re walking out.
Oh, good. I hope it lingers in your consciousness.
Yeah, it does.
Because it’s, you know, I wanted to engage. I want to provoke discussion and you want to move people, and if you aren’t moved by the scene on the bridge between Christian and Zoe Saldana or the loss of a brother or the loss of child and a mother, all those sorts of things, if they don’t, then you have no heart, and you never want to repeat yourself as a filmmaker. Crazy Heart had a lot of warmth and humor and sentimentality, but I wanted to tell a very different story, but also make it feel like a distant cousin or make it feel like it was directed by the same hand, but telling the story about us, as Americans.
It’s interesting because there is, when you’re looking at Russell and Rupert, there are trajectories that you see one coming home from prison, one coming back from the war, and on completely separate paths, and you mirror them really well. There are montages that literally set them up against each other. So, I’m curious just about constructing that within the story.
Well, I wrote that specifically to parallel cross-cutting and editing and I thought it was important to tell these divergent stories and how two brothers only separated by three or four years could go down such wildly different paths and how we’re all shaped by fate and circumstances. Had Rodney come to the bar like he said and they had drinks, that car would have pulled out and lives would be forever different. Anything can happen to you driving home or to me, and you know, as fatalistic as that sounds, I just want to be as truthful and searingly realistic as I can possibly be, and I never want the violence to feel gratuitous or shock-value, but representative in a realist way because we’re all touched by violence. We’re all here because of violence. The American Revolution, the Civil War, all of these things that touch and pervade our marrow, right, because that’s who we are and I wanted to make a film about us and you know, you succeed on some levels and fail on others, but hopefully in 10, 15, 20 years, it’s a film that will stand the test of time, and you see that what America was undergoing at that time.
I kind of want my fingerprints not to be on the film. It’s really about these people and this world and never for Eric to say, wow look how clever you are with the camera. I want my editing to be invisible, the acting to be invisible, production design and score, so that you’re so fully immersed and you have a very intense experience from the opening moments to the final scene of a man sitting at his family’s dining table, where he’s broken bread with his father and his mother and his brother who are all deceased.
Yeah, they’re all gone.
And though he isn’t in prison, he is in his own prison and he’s dealing with the consequences of violence and he’s a man who’s battling his soul.