- Solid piece of film making 10/6/2009 12:00:00 AM by mim-8
Paul Schrader is one of the most talented directors of so called "New Hollywood", and it's really strange that almost all the films he directed are poorly rated on IMDb. That refers to his most productive phase from 1978 to 1988, when he made crafty social dramas such as "Blue collar" and "Hardcore", stylistic look on rotten high class devouring the individual, such as "American gigolo", art house remake, such as "Cat people", and a true masterpiece, such as "Mishima - Life in four chapters". At the end of this period comes "Patty Hearst", a biography, or to be exact a segment in life of America's most famous hostage turned terrorist of the 70's. This subject, as interesting as it is, has a lot of pitfalls, for a film maker. Filming such a story may turn into an emotional travel down the road of ridiculousness, cemented in victim's distorted point of view. Not with craftsmen like Paul Schrader. He did this film just exactly as it should have been done, terrors of capture, mixed with bewilderment of being a hostage, turned into confusion and daze with one's captors, which is everything Patty Hearst went through in her months of captivity. Late Natasha Richardson's performance is indeed low key, but that's probably the way real Patty Hearst felt and behaved, after all the movie is based on her own book. Scenes of the first two weeks after the abduction, when all abductors appear as silhouettes in a doorway, and constant images of being shot and dumped in a ditch, perfectly show what was going through Patty Hearst's mind at the time. She was just 19 and like the opening of the movie said "ofcourse there's a little one can do to prepare for the unknown".
This film marked the end of Paul Schrader's directorial peak, but it's well done, well acted, character development and symbolism are in full use of the story, and it deserves a much higher rating than it has. If you're a fan of Schraders work, don't miss it, if not, well decide for yourself. Recommended!
- a more interesting film than meets the eye 8/16/2000 12:00:00 AM by tlon
i don't agree with the comments of the other viewers. i think that the filmmakers purposefully created a detached style to inspire a more objective engagement in the story from the viewer. because the real interest of the patty hearst story, apart from being a totally unique and fascinating part of american mythology, is the mystery of "what really happened?" since the movie was based on patty hearst's side of things, it would have been very easy to create an emotionally engaging (or, read: manipulative) narrative that wholly supported her version of the story. officially the filmmakers had to present her version, but i think the way in which it was constructed purposefully makes you conscious, the whole time, of the various possibilities of reality that could have existed. and who is to say there is only one reality? certainly not these filmmakers.
- Shadow, light and gibberish 2/15/2006 12:00:00 AM by manuel-pestalozzi
California is drenched in sunshine. But Patty Hearst, member of one of the most famous and in the public opinion most wealthy families of the USA is brutally thrown into darkness. The California sun is still out there, you can almost feel it, some rays come through, but the light is most of the time shut out by walls or curtains. Once the nineteen-year-old woman reemerges, she is a revolutionary, called Tanya ? like Che's lover, you dig?
This highly interesting, very stylish and well crafted movie tells about the ordeal, the disorientation, the reprogramming and the re-reprogramming of a young person who seems to be very much alone while trying to endure these transformations that are forced upon her. Any notion of society seems to dissolve into sheer madness. This retelling of actual facts, which is done exclusively and in straight chronological order from Patty's point of view, might or might not be a ?doctored" account of events, it certainly is convincing and allows the viewers to commiserate with the main protagonist. She concludes at the end that society probably would have preferred her dead, and after seeing the movie one must say she has a point there (for this aspect it might be interesting to check out Robert Aldrich's The Grissom Gang).
The group dynamics and the insane pseudo revolutionary gibberish (sounds terribly dated!) has a real feel to it, all actors are believable in their roles. I thought that Ving Rhames was particularly effective as the group's leader, Cinque (and now I know that the name is not pronounced like the Italian word for the number five). Besides Natasha Richardson the performance of Jodi Long also caught my attention. Reminded me a little of Mercedes McCambridge. I hope I will be able to see her in other roles.
- A Nice movie made from the victim's perspective 4/12/2006 12:00:00 AM by betasam
The movie, at first I thought was a typical late 1980 movie with fewer actors than newer films and a compact plot. But later I did quite a bit of reading on Patty Hearst following through Wikipedia. The first thing I noticed was that the movie had woven the facts together quite well. Yes, there are a few anachronisms as mentioned in an earlier comment, but I could catch just one of them. Things blend into the movie quite well as far as the victim is concerned. When the movie was made they had no way of knowing that 20-Jan-2001, the real Patty Hearst was given a full presidential pardon after analysis of the case which revealed that the defendant's lawyer was in most likelihood drunk on the day of trial. The movie doesn't concentrate on the trial, but more on the experiences making it a treat to watch.
It also scares us as to how fragile society might become with just one economic slide causing everyone to queue up at gas stations; that alone can re-start this guerrilla facade that, considering world politics today could turn out really ugly. The casting is impeccable, I just sat down comparing photographs of the real people with the cast; and there was an 80% resemblance. I like that part. I see this movie as a biopic though this term was not commonly employed when the movie was taken. The movie is relevant to recent times to show that no nation is any "less" vulnerable to insurgent work and possible insurgent fracture. Definitely worth the time to watch it, the movie is quite well made. For a fact the real Patty Hearst herself has acted in movies including a recent one, "A Dirty Shame."
- She walked out with empty arms, machine gun in her hand 2/14/2007 12:00:00 AM by movieman_kev
Based on a novel be Patty herself, this film is very suspect on the actual truth, but Director Paul Schrader does a pretty good job at making the film of Hearst's kidnapping by and subsequently joining with the moronic Symbionese Liberation Army compelling throughout the duration of the film. Opting for a seemingly objective approach despite the source material. Nothing new revolving the case will be gleamed for watching this though, and one will take from it the exact same view as what one goes into it with. Personally, I don't or can't sympathize with spoiled rich girl turned violent revolutionary turned praised celebrity Hearst, but I know that there are many that do. Natasha Richardson as Patty gives a serviceable, if nothing special, job. And Ving Rhames gives a good job himself as the cliché spewing leader of the pitifully sad SLA. This movie is also widely known to be the last of Paul Schrader's films to be any good at all, so there's always that.
My Grade: B-
Eye Candy: Natasha Richardson gets topless