Meet Joe Black
Sooner or later,
Look who's coming to dinner?
What a long movie.... is
about all you will hear if you listen to people whispering when leaving
It took nearly 3 hours (2
hours and 58 seconds, to be precise) for Anthony Hopkins to finally meet
who is behind Joe Black.
If some movies are intense
because of their fascinating dialogues, this one will strike mostly by
its silences. The artistic expected effects seemed to have been shadowed
by a strict direction, and you spend long moments wondering what they are
trying to show you.
The Story : Death takes on holiday
Death is here, and death gets a name for himself: Joe
Black. He also gets a pretty face: Brad Pitt’s.
Death comes to Earth because William Parrish attracted
him. W.P. is a media tycoon who managed to follow a strong ethical path
while keeping up an exciting life. His family life is also admirable. His
beloved wife died and the man is worshipped by his two daughters (Allison
Death has a growing curiosity for human way of life. He
feels lonely and when he comes to claim W.P. 's soul, decides to
postpone W.P. departure for as long as he could be entertained. Death takes
As we go along
The most remarkable scene is surely the one that takes
place within the first 15 minutes. A formidable stunt catching everyone’s
heart. Brad Pitt, who just happened to have met Susan Parrish in a coffee-shop,
is hit by a truck, then a car. The shock is unexpected, rapid and leaves
you with a question: What happened?
Apart from the violence of this scene, do not expect to
be shaken in any way or at any time during this long movie. The pace is
slowing down dramatically, and many scenes will call on you for reading
what is not said, understanding looks, glances etc… You might even regret
you are not reading the book, it is sometimes so demanding. But the conversations
are not gratuitous, everything seems to have been measured and you find
yourself taken aback every time, for having judge too fast a line as just
being a space-filling ornament .
The plot is rather interesting: the alleged take over
of Parrish Media group by a less scrupulous businessman and the complicity
of the old man's right hand -- son-in-law-to-be-- in the scam. William
Parrish is a talented person, an intriguing mix of success, respect and
emotion. He steals away the movie with the convey of his questioning: did
he live his life at the fullest? Should he have reasons to be scared for
what is coming next, for what he leaves behind.
One can also be amused by to see Death trying to "blend
in", to adjust to all the new things he encounters: doors, beds, food,
There are also a few nice scenes in the hospital with
an island old lady (Lois Kelly-Miller) who
recognizes Death. Their dialogue exchange is poignant, their complicity,
carried by the Creole language they use, is moving.
lonely here mostly too. If we are lucky, we get to take some nice pictures
with us when we go" she says.
get some nice pictures to take, Sister?"
Brad Pitt : Joe Black, Death
Anthony Hopkins : William
Claire Forlani : Susan Parrish
Marcia Gay Harden : Allison
Jeffrey Tambor : Allison's
Jake Weber : Drew,
the right hand man
Brad Pitt is always a nice view, I am sure many people
agree with me. I wonder why so many critics are complaining about the special
shades on his best profile or the love scene and try to evaluate how convincing
he was. Well, I think the love scene should have been wiped out. In this
already very long movie, it really drags on and gets you bored. I am female
too but no, I did not faint watching Brad being undressed! Did you?
As for Joe Black's performance, I have noticed a very
unequal acting. Sometimes terribly odd, at other times, exactly "in". But
this also goes with the character of Death being personified, a little
childish, stubborn, but powerful and "deadly".
Anthony Hopkins is just as we expected him. Full of passions
and emotions, which he conveys out to us with shine. His character is strong
and easy to relate to: a man contemplating his past.
Claire Forlani comes out as a nice and friendly doctor,
since she does not get a lot of space anyway. Besides, she is given an
easy task, falling in love with Death with Brad Pitt's face and body, but
she’s trying her best to convince us it is more than just the looks.
As a conclusion I would like to remind you that the movie
is a remake of a 1934 Mitchell
Leisen's film "Death Takes