Memphis

2013

Drama /

0
IMDb Rating 5.4

Synopsis


Downloaded 906 times
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1080p 720p
1.50G
Normal
English
/
84 min
P/S 4 / 0
973.88M
Normal
English
/
84 min
P/S 0 / 1

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by Sergeant_Tibbs 7

If the city of Memphis is synonymous with anything, it&#39;s for being the original hub of the founders of influential music genres, in particular soul, blues and gospel. Countless of musical pioneers found their roots there, Aretha Franklin, Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, B.B. King, to name a fraction of the recognizable names in the list. Tim Sutton&#39;s Memphis is overtly titled and it&#39;s one that wants you to bear in mind the cultural history and the myths of its past. Willis Earl Beal stars as a figure resembling Willis himself. Like his character, he&#39;s an avant garde blues musician, and as it&#39;s stated in his introductory scene, he has an album and a film coming out – this one. Many times the film breaks the fourth wall like this (a small throwaway shot sticks out where a bystander asks &quot;are you acting in a movie?&quot;) and its cinema verite style makes it feel like it may as well be a documentary.<br/><br/>But it is not a documentary. Sutton is interested in the truth and his abstract style tries its best to uncover it. The film is about the lack of fulfillment in art, established in the introductory scene where Beal states that he believes &#39;life is artifice.&#39; He&#39;s an empty and unsatisfied musician undergoing an existential crisis in the face of the pressure of recording a new record. Beal plays the role very passively, often looking solemn in the background and being grumpy rather than angry during moments of conflict. While the film is incredibly loose, showing its narrative in fragments sandwiched between incidental happenings, the theme of losing artistic inspiration and motivation is easy to connect to, if not necessarily to invest in. Instead, Beal finds himself more interested in self-discovery and contentment in nature, as depicted in frequent Malick- esque flowing shots of trees. However, the community urges him to pursue the music because they claim it is a God given gift, though he considers his talent lost.<br/><br/>The relationship between God and music is a frequent one in cinema, most notably in Amadeus, but it&#39;s one that works. The belief in God constantly looms oppressively over the characters and that dynamic adds a thoughtful spiritual stake to the film. The city of Memphis is now a dangerous one, worn out since the innovation of the 60s, and ghosts of its past echo down the streets. The soundtrack to the film is deliberately archaic, comprised mostly of traditional gospel and blues that haven&#39;t developed since the heyday. It&#39;s presented without a hint of nostalgia, crackling under lo-fi production. It&#39;s where the film has its most interesting question. Where can music go? Although it can be a satisfying form of expression, and only somewhat for Beal, there&#39;s no room for expansion, and he&#39;s constantly feeling that weight and burden. Instead, he claims that glory is not found on the stage, but in solitude. We end up spending many times with characters alone but their actions are ambiguous instead of anything glorified. Nevertheless, it&#39;s an interesting theory for the film to address.<br/><br/>It&#39;s a soulfully minimalist film, though the camera often glides capturing characters against natural backdrops or has the odd pretty and splendid shot here and there. Its pace is sparse and often drowsy. We often watch characters drift through Memphis silently without a beginning or an end to their journey. It results in something very meditative, yet still sensitive, even if the film doesn&#39;t necessarily reflect the volatile world that the characters feel they live in. It has pleasant aesthetics, but nothing edgy enough to crack open the hard shell that constricts the characters. Memphis is a very organic and lyrical film about creative inspiration running dry, but it lacks an emotional flux to really get under its skin. However, its atmosphere grows on you, and is eventually absorbing once you can just enjoy its inconsequential day-in-the-life style and existential interjections. A pondering indie film that is certainly worth watching.<br/><br/>7/10<br/><br/>Read more @ The Awards Circuit (http://www.awardscircuit.com)

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Reviewed by rdoyle29 4

A naturally talented singer walks around Memphis and sort of interacts with people and doesn&#39;t actually sing. I am all for slow movies and character studies and films that want to create atmosphere, but I&#39;ll be damned if I can figure out why I was watching any of this. Our main characters walks around the streets and in the woods and mumbles to himself, and other people get unrelated monologues ... and you know what? To hell with this.

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Reviewed by popcorninhell 7

I have been writing movie reviews off and on for over ten years. Sifting through a collection of older reviews it&#39;s amazing to see how my thought processes have changed over time. There was a point when I truly believed that a good film needed to be a source of decent entertainment first. After all, what good is a narrative if it doesn&#39;t convince you of its world and engross you into the foibles of its characters. As I have gotten older and seen my fair share of challenging films that dare to alter and/or, God forbid, throw out narrative structure, I can say with little doubt that my previous assertions were absolutely false. A great movie doesn&#39;t need to satisfy our baser instincts and simply be entertaining. It certainly helps but it&#39;s not the end-all-be-all point of all movies in existence. Some movies are repulsive by design, some are so creatively off-kilter as to be subjective, while others still are purposely boring.<br/><br/>Memphis and other movies like it, makes me wonder about being on the opposite end of this entertainment vs. art paradigm. At what point can one put any critical weight on the idea of boredom, especially when that boredom is part of the filmmaker&#39;s intent? The film Memphis follows Willis Earl Beal (who plays himself), as he wonders the dilapidated abodes, churches and nightclubs of the titular city while struggling with a musical mental block. He&#39;s said to have a God given gift of song, yet his new found success as a blues singer has alienated him from his inspirations thus he wonders the streets largely muttering to himself.<br/><br/>Director Tim Sutton has a rare eye for finding the forlorn Gothic beauty and simmering spirituality behind one of America&#39;s most culturally significant cities. Much like Jim Jarmusch&#39;s Mystery Train (1989), the grimy, left-for-dead city is given a lackadaisical reverence that forgoes it&#39;s most famous landmarks for boarded up windows and filthy screen doors. The film was largely shot in Orange Mound, a neighborhood of Memphis said to be among the poorest in the nation but nonetheless has a proud history of African-American affirmation. Blues lived and died in the steamy back alleys of Orange Mound and every non-actor in this film carries that on their shoulders with a sense of pride.<br/><br/>All except Willis Earl Beal who seems to have come out of nowhere. Despite Tim Sutton&#39;s insistence that Beal is a bonafide Blues singer, the man carries himself like a carnival barker feigning genuine- article realness. He seems all to willing to act the part instead of being the part. I suppose for a micro-budget independent film you can&#39;t fault him too hard for amateurish acting but instead of channeling Muddy Waters he channels Marcello Mastroianni&#39;s performance in 8 1/2 (1963), a character who prides himself on facade not authenticity.<br/><br/>The film carries itself much like the halcyon waters of the Mississippi; listlessly trailing Beal as he goes from a TV studio, to his home, to a church he seldom attends, to a suburb and finally to the forest. It&#39;s a slow meditative and ultimately exhausting hike that brings to mind Jace Clayton&#39;s &quot;The Quietest Place&quot; art assignment on youtube. Some may find the jaunt downright frustrating and not even worth the film&#39;s brief run time. I personally saw tiny flashes of Andrei Tarkovsky and Kar-Wai Wong encrusted in the silt but Memphis didn&#39;t live up to such lofty ambitions.<br/><br/>That said I&#39;m glad young enterprising filmmakers like Sutton have any ambitions at all; other than stumbling into the directing chair of Marvel&#39;s latest glorified serial. Yes this film will test your patience and yes some may find this prosaic travelogue much too pensive to endure. It came down to the wire for me, saving itself by the skin of a few confidently made shots and a killer soundtrack.

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