Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Taking Woodstock" (2009) - Movie Review

The Michael Lang who is the main orchestrator in producing the Woodstock 69 is played by Jonathan Groff with the charm that can make people happily convince themselves that he can deliver the deadliest poison as a nectar for happiness. So are the generation of the 60s arriving at the dairy farm of the Bethel New York for the concert of a life time, Woodstock. Directed by Ang Lee surprising with the selection of movies he takes up (“Hulk”, “Brokeback Mountain” and “Lust, Caution”) and now he brings in a Demetri Martin, about whom I practically knew nothing until a few weeks back at “The Tonight Show with Conan O’Brien”, he appeared and Conan telling that he used to be in the writing section of his late night show. How did Ang hook up with him? It should be interesting on its own. But in this 110 minutes film, what we see is being out there. In that ambience where everything was surreal and everything contained the level above the ground aura to it.

Elliot Tiechberg (Demetri Martin) is a young man who seem to be obliged and stays for the summer at his mom (Imelda Staunton) and dad’s (Henry Goodman) motel which is situated in Upstate New York. Momma Tiechberg is bitter, paranoid and trusts only the money she owns. Dad Tiechberg is the sublime personality explaining the calmness and the buried agony due to living with this woman. Elliot’s mom still lives in the fear of being hunted by Nazis as she came through that journey and nice is the word she cannot find at all. The motel is falling apart and Elliot leaving his interior designing life in Brooklyn, dresses up to visit the bank for getting more time and money for the upcoming summer. There is no indication that the resort attracts tourist for a dead town like Bethel. Here is where the experience is going to happen.

The story gets inspired from the true events which led to the Woodstock arriving at the Dairy farms of one Max Yasgur played here by Eugene Levy. The original Elliot, Elliot Tiber saw the opportunity of the Woodstock event getting ousted in their first desired location and called up Michael Lang to come in use his place. The location shifts to Max Yasgur’s place and the whole three day which brings more than half a million people marked a historic significance in music and the generation which gives a feeling to have lived it all.

Ang Lee’s version of this experience uses Elliot to roam around this scenery of people flooded all around the green acre. Every one is in trance and everything is a source of hallucinating light and it is out there. In this we see characters which could have existed in that part and in that time to give a glimpse of that experience. Elliot who much seemed to be a shelled existence gets exposed into the plethora of extremities. Those three days in the film is the progression towards the point wherein there is an eruption of life into the insignificant stale of monotony in the town of Bethel. Characters like Liev Schreiber’s Vilma, Emile Hirsch’s Billy gets a place where they are not spotted and accepted for their personality.

Demetri Martin’s Elliot is given as a shy but someone ready to be get the teachings of the world beyond or the world he has seen and is missing to live up to a parent who never admires it. Henry Goodman as the dad of Elliot is notable along with the most disliked character of Elliot’s mother by Imelda Staunton. In both of their presence there is rarely a communication in between them. Staunton takes the tough role of being hated by the audience and the sweetest person in the film above of Elliot is his dad. These opposites are tied in a marriage which does not seem to make sense a single bit.

Ang Lee says a story inspired by the true events in the history of rock and roll and an era nobody can forget. The facts might of course gets distorted when travels from voices and in pages to the screen. But it is a film which takes that opportunity to give that feel of being there in this waves of people. The harmony is both rejoicing and suffocating. Every one is impulsive and the flow along with it are too good to be true but it existed. Where the possibility of ultimate peace did not seem like a far reach. But I always think whether it is a pure effects of the cocktails of drugs each induced upon or that the concept of holding hands indeed was accepted as the best solution to the cruel world? Whichever it is, that tenure of small gap the people lived entirely for the moment. And Ang Lee takes us into it.

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