Tuesday, 13 December 2011

On the cult of the director and Renny Harlin

Being a man of the people (hello, people) I'm a little bit suspicious of the whole world of the cinematic auteur. Should films be covered in the fingerprints of the person (it's usually a man, let's be honest. Only men have got enough spare time to piss away making films) who made them? Should they reflect their own personal and/or artistic vision? Do they?

It's certainly the case that many directors films will be stylistically similar. They'll all have a style and a theme of their own. Many stick to one genre or one formula, especially if it proves to be successful or lucrative. That's fine by me. I understand that. However, people doing it consciously gives me the limpies. That just smacks of being fake. Trying to fake being yourself. Now there's one to test even the very best counsellors.

If I'm honest, I have sought out particular films simply because they were made by a certain director in my time. However, this was simply born out of the fact that I have enjoyed their other work. Alfred Hitchcock is a very good example. Hitchcock made some of my very favourite films and his ideas about what cinema should be are compelling (I got a book about it, you see). But I've never given in to the personality cult of the director. I don't want to go into a film thinking, "I WONDER WHAT THIS PERSON HAS TO SAY". I just want to see a good story, told in an interesting and engaging way.

However, all my best efforts to be an intellectually bankrupt simpleton are at risk of being derailed thanks to one man (I think he is a man): Renny Harlin.

I am fascinated by Renny Harlin. He has a good name, for a start. Renny. But then there's also the films that he makes. You can't go wrong with The Long Kiss Goodnight or Deep Blue Sea. You really can't. For one thing they've both got Samuel L. Jackson in them. Pow. Renny Harlin also made the best Die Hard film of the lot, Die Hard 2: Die Harder. And Cliffhanger, the film tht definitively proves that heights are bad and John Lithgow is not fundamentally cut out to play criminals. These are four films of a key group which I plan to come back to at a later date: Films that I will watch every time they're on television.

The trouble is, I end up thinking "who is this man Renny Harlin,who makes my heart pound so with his exciting action films? I wonder what he has to say?"

Damn it!

He's too enigmatic, that's the problem. With his terrific name (Renny) and his films and the fact that I don't even know what he looks like. I decided to try and demystify him so I could stop being such a film ponce. Yesterday afternoon I watched How To Murder Your Wife (director: Renny Harlin) and as I did it drew what I thought Renny Harlin might look like in my book. Here are the results.

I think it helped. He certainly seemed less elusive and fascinating now that he had a face. But of course, I couldn't leave it there. I had to find out what he actually looked like, so that I might finally achieve closure. And here he is:

Tintin's dad. Apparently he's from Finland. Who knew? So there you are. I'm finally free! Stick it up your arse, Fran├žois Truffaut!

5 comments:

Captain Mungol of the Free Mungolia Liberation Army of Cooltown said...

who?

Neil (Milon Roy) Mace (Milon Roy) said...

I'm not entirely certain that Die Hard 2 is the best in the Die Hard series. It did break new ground though with the naked Russian yoga in the opening minutes.

Darkedge said...

Die Hard 2 is the worst.. seriously
Renny also did Cutthroat Island (Bad) and Married Geena Davis after which point she went rubbish and vanished.

Chopper said...

The only version of "How To Murder Your Wife" I can find is the 1965 version starring Jack Lemon.

I Googled it but found no mention of another version.

I even looked at Renny Harlin's IMDB profile to no avail.

Do you have an incredibly rare copy of an unreleased Renny Harlin film, or am I being stupid?

alicestronaut said...

This is a great post, even though I have never seen any of those films. I want to now though xx

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