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Movies are visual motion images that are used by individuals to propagate a certain ideology of their choice. The ideologies vary depending on the target audience and location, from education, romance, action, and comedy among others. For instance, many of American films are action packed. Movies also help in advancing a people's culture in a particular geographical location.
Written and directed by American scriptwriters, Brian Koppelman and compatriot David Levien, Solitary Man is a comedy cum drama filled film starring, 65 year old award winning actor, Michael Douglas as Ben Kalmen, a former car guru. The ninety minutes comedy includes a cast of eleven talented characters that is Susan Sarandon as Ben's wife Nancy, Jenna Fischer as Susan, Mary Louise Parker as Jordan, Ben's girlfriend, Jesse Eisenberg, Imogen Poots as Allyson, Ben Shenkman, David Costabile, Danny Devito Arthur Nascarella, Ben's former colleague in college and Anastasia Griffith. ( Goss, 2010)
Shot on location at the United States of America, the film surrounds the life of Ben (Michael Douglas) who driven by his ins and outs for business and romantic recklessness loses all his affluence and as in a grace to grass scenario is alienated by everyone revealing the inborn conduct of many men in the world.
According to James ( 2010) Ben, results to leading a miserable life upon revelation by his doctor of his electrocardiograph outcome. Due to this stern revelation that he willl not live for long owing to his heart problem, Ben engages in sexual parades with numerous women, possibly as a revenge mission for his incapacitation.
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In addition, he does this to evade death and pay no attention to his now ageing physique
His increasingly thirst for sex with the youthful women; Ben separates with his wife Nancy (Susan Sarandon) and the curiosity to venture into business lands him in jail. From a womanizer to a successful businessman, Ben is a jack of all trade but a master of none.
His downfall is precipitated by his vast career gaffes and personal transgressions. As the story goes on, it comes to the viewers' attention that Michael Douglas who stars as Ben Kalmen owns the world-has everything at his disposal, from a six-digit salary, gorgeous wife to a Manhattan apartment building.
Staring at the now jig-saw puzzle life, Ben is the go-getter; he does everything at his will. Ben's popularity had raised amicably thanks to the ideal television commercials he appeared depicting him as the king of Long Island moguls, occasioning his negligible celebrity status. Such deals, however, led to his imprisonment on grounds of being involved in fraud. After character assassination, Ben tries to rebuild his image soon after his release from prison.
With the help of his wife (Mary Louise Parker) and her father, Ben is determined to make a comeback to his business although he is obscured by her stepdaughter's (Jenna Fischer) beautiful physique. (Solitary Man,n.d) Making informed choices was Ben's nightmare and continues as lack of self esteem and his ever blazing libido lures him to have an affair with his stepdaughter, during one of his many rounds at the college. As the plot thickens, the rest of the cast isolates themselves from Ben owing to the fact that the once kept 'secret' has been spilled and everyone and everything that was once resourceful to alienates him slowly upon revelations of his sexual intimacy with her daughter. However, his ex-wife (Susan Sarandon) remains the only individual at his side. Its Ben (Michael Douglas) expertise in acting that renders such happenings believable although disheartening.
The title of the film Solitary Man easily represents the inner content
By continuing of the plot and synopsis even after Ben's imprisonment, the film outshines many movies that would have climaxed at this juncture. (Solitary Man, n.d). In regard to audibility, the voice quality and the music in the background keep the viewers glued to their screens. Moreover, with such high voice quality, the film makes the audience urge for more. The conversation in the movie is clear.
Koppelman's choice of character rejuvenates the film as every actor and actresses fit in the shoes of their stage performances. Michael Douglas in his role as Ben, with ease tells the story through with his rather comical but arrogant behavior. Character choices are vital to film production, for example, when directors put right roles to the wrong characters and vice versa. For instance putting Ben to act as a young man would amount to wrong decision. Therefore by choosing Michael Douglas to feature as an old man in the movie works perfectly for the film.
"Solitary Man'' is too shapeless and cursorily plotted to fully work as a story, but Koppelman and his co-director, David Levien, generously surround the hero with reliable actors doing solid work; if you can get past the catastrophe of Ben's behavior, the film's a genuine pleasure" (Ty Burr, 2010)
"Douglas has a good supporting cast to work with though-he's not the whole show despite appearing in every scene" (Peter Rainer, 2010)
However, the lighting in the movie portrays inconsistency, this is because most of the scenes are not well lit leaving the audience at the mercy of their eyes. Although some scenes require darkness or dullness, the director, proliferation of the dullness at other scenes that call for light does not augur well with the audience.
Proper lighting ensures that the viewers' experience topmost visual images with less if not sight strains.
The choice of location is also of innermost importance and the team of directors (Brian Koppelman and David Levien) clearly chose ideal scenes to suit the topic of discussion, For instance Ben's romantic escapades are in passionate places such as idyllic hotels.
The theme of romance is clearly spelled out in the movie, and the choice of such a theme is idealistic owing to the premise that it is proximate to the audience. By this I mean, it easily relates to the day to day lives of the audiences. For instance, in an individual's normal life, romance is a prerequisite ingredient. In this regard such advancement of ideology is best suited for such as movie. Moreover, Ben's predicament revolving around women is evident in every society.
It details how men's unending libido culminate into one's downfall and showcases that wealth is a 'come and stay-leave at your pleasure' commodity since at one time you have it the next you don't. The film propagates a lesson to its audiences not to adore affluence with zest, since it is only cyclic in nature. (Solitary Man, n.d)
However, the language use in the movie is rated R indicating that some of the conversation is not ideal to all, and thus the movie applies the selective exposure model and its contents must be filtered to fit the general audience. (Solitary Man, n.d )
However, the plot heavily focused on Ben overshadowing the role played by other characters in the film to an extent of losing center of attention. The movie relies heavily on relationships but not only Ben. For instance, for a good movie teamwork and involvement of the other cast is of great importance in ensuring the film plot flows outstandingly. Therefore, Koppelman's over emphasis of the role of played by Ben is illogical. On the other hand, Ben remains as the main character in advancing the plot, and although he is shown too much, he should remain the central peak.
The continuous use of dialogue and minimizing too much music or rather playing it on the background contributes to the audiences' relationship with the cast in the film.
"Solitary Man is very heavy on dialogue, but it never bores" (Massie, n.d )
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Ben's actions move the audiences to emphasize with his myriad of tribulations in life although, Ben displays a carefree picture i.e. he is not cowed by anything revolving around his life which by now has turned chaotic after numerous affairs with women younger to be his daughters.
"Ben may be a sad case but he retains a few shreds of self respect and does what needs to be done to keep his head above the water" (Solitary Man (n.d)
Notably as a means to keep the audience attached to the drama, Solitary Man contains some amounts of humor, for easier consumption of not only the serious content but also the comic bit in the movie. This ensures that the audiences remain tightly connected to the movie and also reduce tension.
"There's nothing more pathetic than watching a 60-year-old man who refuses to grow up. You know the type - he tells his grandkids not to call him ''grandpa'' in public. He leers at teenage coeds because he thinks he still has a shot. He smooth-talks everyone, clueless to the fact that they're no longer buying what he has to sell"( Nashawaty, Aug 26, 2010)
Critics however argue that Michael Douglas's role as Ben brings nothing new to the Solitary Man drama but only replicates his roles assumed in previous films. (Massie, 30th November 2010)
"As good as Douglas is, he unfortunately plays a character we've seen him in way too many times, Solitary man itself feels like a movie we've seen him in before too" (p.2)
Interconnectivity of the scenes in Solitary Man film easily enables the audiences relate with the story without deviation of attention. This is due to proper editing of the film filling any loopholes that would otherwise contribute to lose of focus by the audience.
However, the movie depicts levels of moral decadence in the society by virtue of showing the multiple partners that Ben sleeps with. For instance he sleeps with his step daughter (Jein Fischer) with disregard to common ideology of incest. Such incidences clearly show the incomprehensible nature of common societal norms and cultures.
The film's climax is not convincing since as the audience is already in the knowledge of the next cause of action. In good films the film director should apply suspense to create enhance eagerness by the audience to brainstorm the subsequent outlook. In conclusion, as the film comes to an end.
"The closing moments of the film may leave many people unsatisfied. I can only say that, as in life, not all fictional stories have packaged conclusions. The thing you have to ask yourself is, "What would be an alternative satisfactory ending?" (Solitary Man Movie Review, October 24, 2010)
In conclusion, its worth noting how Douglas moves the audience through his problems and zest to recapture his once posh lifestyle. However, in a nutshell, to remain the yardstick for good movie production, the aspects of theme, lighting and reduction of obscene language are instrumental in ensuring more audience for the movie.Although the comedy in the movie drives the theme home cordially. For romance movie enthusiasts, Solitary Man is the movie to watch. It was a great movie to watch.