Gone in 60 Seconds – 2000
Character name: Sway
Style: tough, a bit rough
Mannerisms: nothing memorable
Look: kinda working class? Blonde dreads. Tattoos. Very blue eyes
How the film promotes her: Jolie is second in the credits, after Nicholas Cage; the promo poster shows her (and her, uh, assets) prominently.
In the narrative: The first sight we have of Jolie is in the credits, in a photo frame.
The first real sight is under a car. First her legs, as she comes out from under the car under a trolley. Lips are prominent; blonde dreads are very obvious because despite working as a mechanic she hasn’t tied her back (!?). She dismisses Cage, her ex, completely; she initially refuses to participate in the boost.
Eventually, she turns up on a motorcycle in leathers, spectacularly, and says “I’m here for Kip”. Apparently Sway didn’t need to participate in the preparation for the car boosting. Probably because she actually has two jobs and therefore the chance, and necessity, to keep looking like she’s not a criminal. Unlike everyone else. Also, then the writers would have had to write script for her, which might have strained their abilities; she’s the only girl in the crew, what a surprise. She is at least presented as competent and skilled; also happy to fall into the “one of the boys” thing (“always was a sucker for a redhead”). If this were today, or it were a more edgy film, I’d suggest she’s meant to be bi – pretty sure that’s not the case in this sort of mainstream film from 2000.
Apparently she’s still heartbroken that Memphis left her. They eventually ride off into the sunset together; all it took was stealing some cars together and some barely-innuendo car talk.
Age difference with love interest: Eleven years (Cage older).
Other thoughts on the film:
J: Man this intro feels dated.
A: I love the music. (Meanwhile I can’t stand the brother. Delroy Lindo, though!! And a lot of the other secondaries, too. WHAT A YOUNG ECCELSTON.)
J: I have a love/hate relationship with Nicholas… but he’s really quite good in this.
J: Perhaps this was the wrong first film… Jolie isn’t very prominent.
A: Pretty sure it’s better than Hackers; this way we get to see her move from very secondary to headline.
We’ve done a James Bond viewing (one movie a fortnight, for a year. It was quite a thing.)
We’ve done Great Scott! – watching Tony and Ridley Scott films. (Turns out, epics are not really for us.)
We realised we hadn’t had a viewing project for a while, and decided this was a good time to start one. We’d been thinking of following an actor, and decided Gary Oldman would be awesome – we both love several of his films. And then I pointed that we’ve focussed entirely on dudes. So we thought about what not-dudes would be interesting, and we decided Angelina Jolie fit the bill.
Thus: Jolie Oldman.
I have to admit, though, it doesn’t feel like a time for much experimentation. So we’re largely watching films we’ve seen before. We’ll watch them in chronological order, and it will be interesting to see the development and changes over time. But it won’t be a whole lot of new stuff. And we’re fine with that.
Gone in 60 Seconds
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (new for J)
Mr & Mr Smith
Wanted (new for us)
JFK (new for us)
The Fifth Element
Air Force One
Harry Potter – Order of the Phoenix
The Dark Knight
The Book of Eli
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Come along for the ride!
This book was sent to me by the publisher, Hachette, at no cost.
I find myself something at a loss as to how to review realist fiction, these days. Turns out it’s been quite a long time since I read something that would count as such – years, even. So what to say about this? What categories to use to assess it?
Firstly, I certainly enjoyed it, and would have no hesitation in recommending it to someone who likes realist fiction and wanted to read a new book about a young girl’s struggles in a difficult world.
I guess that’s the main thing to say about the book: the point is to explore the life of Adunni, fourteen years old, living in a rural village in Nigeria whose life goes from difficulty to difficulty. I would guess that Adunni’s story – at least aspects of it – is experienced every day by young women in Nigeria, and probably other countries with similar histories and traditions (either of domestic service or polygamy or rural poverty). She can’t keep going to school when the family has no money; she is sold as a third wife to an old man; thanks to tragedy there, she ends up in Lagos, working as a housemaid in the house of a wealthy woman, which is also a distinctly dreadful experience. Adunni herself rarely allows circumstances to quell her personality. She is determined to have a ‘louding voice’ and be heard, and be recognised, and make her life better – not just for herself but so she can help her family, and other girls like herself.
The novel is written in what I guess would be called ‘broken’ English, although I’m uncomfortable with the term. Having done a quick Google, ‘Nigerian Pidgin’ is recognised as being commonly spoken in that country, so maybe it’s that. Certainly the point is that Adunni speaks some English but isn’t proficient (there’s a funny discussion about tenses and how confusing they are late in the story), and the story is written in her voice. Not being accustomed to it, it took me a couple of pages to get into the rhythm of the language, but after a while it was very easy to read (I read the 300-ish pages in a day). Many of the sentence constructions make a lot of sense, even if they’re not ‘correct’ English; I especially like ‘different’ as a verb.
So: plot? It’s a bildungsroman, the formation of a young adult. It takes place over less than a year and while in some ways not that much happens, for Adunni herself things are radically different at the end compared to the start. She faces appalling circumstances and made difficult choices, and lives with the consequences.
Characters? Adunni is a delight, clearly. She is determined to be and do what she wants but not such that she is oblivious to the people around her; she is a true friend and wants to love and help her family. The cast around her is varied, and they seem like believable characters: the man who wants a son and marries a young woman to achieve it; a bitter first wife; a father who doesn’t much care for his daughter; a scheming and ambitious young man; a pragmatic and soft-hearted chef; a woman born in England to Nigerian parents, now living in Nigeria; a wealthy Nigerian couple where the husband is a deadbeat and the wife is… difficult, although sometimes understandably so (what’s not understandable is her violence towards Adunni, which is shocking).
One thing to note is the blurb is misleading; it makes it sound like “the strange disappearance of her predecessor” is one of the key turning points of the novel. While it does worry Adunni, and does have an impact on the plot to a small degree, it’s not a focal point; it’s indicative of the entire situation, not a key hinge of the narrative.
Overall this is an enchanting and enjoyable novel. Not one I would have picked up for myself (see: realist novel), but one I’m very pleased to have received to review.