One Powerful Film
Josh Hartnett should set the film world ablaze with his latest performance in the gripping "August." The "Pearl Harbor" star has come into his own and the actor's steely eyes have never been better utilized than in this tale of life in New York City in the month before 9/11.
August and everything after
Immediately filmmaker Austin Chick puts "August" into context. There is Josh Hartnett getting ready for work with the television news on complete with Nicole Kidman-Tom Cruise divorce details and President George W. Bush being criticized for taking a 30-day vacation in Texas.
Hartnett's Tom is a dreamer whose internet start-up has, thus far, bucked the internet downturn. His company, with brother Josh (Adam Scott), has turned into a hundred-million dollar tech stock force. Many have said that America's economic woes began when the attacks on 9/11 occurred, when in fact, "August" shows that the American financial ideal was already hurt long before those planes crashed into the Twin Towers.
These characters are indicative of the thousands who during this period were worth billions on paper. "August" paints a picture of a world where the billions in the financial realities of August 2001 are in fact, far less inflated.
Family firstAt its heart, "August" is a family story. Specifically it is a tale of two brothers, Josh, played with quiet ferocity by Scott and Hartnett's Tom. Through this film, Hartnett establishes himself as someone who could easily clutch Oscar gold during his career. The story of how sibling relationships whether economic, political and familial storms is ripe with powerful emotion and resonates long after the credits roll. Rip Torn shines as the boys' father who asks perfectly in one scene the question so many asked of the tech boom: "So, what do you do? What do you make?" That question as delivered by veteran Torn perfectly captures the sentiment of a population who wondered what these tech genius had actually "created."
That over inflated value of tech stocks and its subsequent decline is shown in miraculous detail as the "old money" guard swoops in to clean up the financial mess and bail out young entrepreneurs who had bit off more than they could chew. That role of corporate giant is personified brilliantly by David Bowie. If Judi Dench could earn an Oscar for seconds on screen in "Shakespeare in Love," Bowie should be considered for his icy portrayal of old guard capitalism having its revenge on the upstarts.
Hartnett is a vision
An often shirtless, tattooed Hartnett walks around much of the film as if he's someone waiting for something to happen. Tom is a visionary in all ways except in his own life. Hartnett the actor shows a vulnerability not been seen in Hartnett's entire body of work. In "August" Hartnett is purely intense.
Hartnett crafts a character with such depth, audiences will treasure the seriousness he put into such a demanding part.
Be sure to check back next week for our interview with "August" star Naomie Harris.
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