Benevolent Bandersnatch stars as hard-boiled rancher Phil Burbank
When researching for this piece the first review I came upon was authored by some 20-something who stroked his vagina about the theme of "toxic masculinity" portrayed in the film and I wondered where the hell he got that. Then I remembered the times we are living in. I have to assume the 20-something is surrounded by colleagues riding high on that third wave and his balls are kept in a corral and the only safe manner he has to safely to show he's a man is the scraggly beard he sports. The Guardian laughably calls it a gothic western. I guess it's because of the funereal cello music that plays over scenes of desolate Montana/New Zealand landscape. (You'll recognize the field of rocks that was used as a setting in THE HOBBIT: AN UNEXPECTED JOURNEY where Radagast the Hophead leads a pursuing band of Orcses on Worgs around and around, giving Gandalf and the fat, stupid Hobbits a chance to flee.) Fucking Guardian - once again a rag of offal.
Everyone agrees that this is one of the best films so far this decade and that Benedict Cumberbatch gives a superb performance perhaps even his best one yet that I have seen. How Will Smith beat him out for the Oscar nod for Best Actor is beyond me. Perhaps Mr. Smith slapped around and threatened more than Chris Rock that year. Maybe it was just his turn. A lot of US have long since given up on the Oscars and any real indication of the championship of Merit. The Cinematography of TPofD is breath-taking and from what I saw involved mostly natural light although I surmise that at least one Arri-sun was used here and there to accentuate and craft the beauty, but it was beat out by DUNE for the golden statue. Now although DUNE is beautiful, it incorporated lots of CGI and as a someone who makes photos, there is a difference between photography and digital art and between People who photograph things and those who draw on a computer and film Actors in front of a blue screen. Nominated for 12 awards, it walked away with only 1 for BEST DIRECTOR and I think it was robbed at "woke" point.
Now as far as "Toxic Masculinity goes", admittedly none of the genuine critics went there. What's disappointing when reviewing the reviewers, none spoke of the real theme of the film as being loneliness and how it affects different personalities and how those personalities cope with it. Four characters are juxtaposed in the film and each, in their own way, contend with the effects of isolation. The 'toxic' character in question is a Man in a position of authority over other men, living a grueling outdoor lifestyle of cow-poking, while he secretly maintains a stash of spank material on the slopes of Brokeback Mountain. Yes, Phil can be a mean bastard but he's coping with the frustration of being sequestered on the range with a group of cowboys while being compelled to hide his true self as well as the jealousy and angry resentment of seeing his Brother get married and insert his alcoholic Wife and her "half-cooked son" into the home. In his defense, Phil consciously makes the decision to take the Woman's son under his wing and literally "teach him the rope's" for which his good deed does not go unpunished. Phil isn't toxic and he certainly isn't a nefarious poisoner and murderer. Phil is a victim as are so many in this cold, hard, cruel World.