Thursday, August 6, 2009

Film: The Crow [1994]

This film needs no introduction nor review. It'd been a while since I'd watched it (mostly because we needed a "new" VCR as we're not going to replace all our VHS tapes with DVDs). Last evening was perfect for it: Overcast, gloomy, lightning and rain (that's a rarity in this otherwise sunny desert with its 320 days of sunshine on average; but we're currently in the rainy season). I lit three candles and put the movie on. My husband asked why I'd lit candles. Um...because it's a *Gothic* film? Duh. :-p

In 1994 I'd just come out of New Age involvement (yes, gentle reader, in the early 1990's yours truly was a 20-something hanging around with folks 20 years my senior who'd been hippies and flower children in the '60s). Four years prior, in 1990, I'd read the "comic book" series of The Crow. Its dark and disturbing imagery was a bit difficult to comprehend at the time; however, the love story was compelling and kept me reading. When the film came out I had to see it; I was immediately hooked and it's definitely a favorite.

This is of course the story of "Shelly Webster and her nice rock 'n roll boyfriend, Eric Draven" who are savagely attacked by a criminal gang on Devil's Night, and the night before their intended Halloween wedding. Eric Draven is resurrected and given powers by a crow for vengeance on their killers.

The characters of Sarah and Sgt. Albrecht are wonderful; they help to round out the film. Favorite scenes include Sarah passing on onions for her hot dog because "they make you fart big time." Sgt. Albrecht referring to Eric as "the mime from Hell" after he vanishes.

Other favored scenes are Eric's tossing rings into Gideon's face while condemning him with "Each of these rings represents a life: A life which you helped to destroy." Eric holding Darla fast before a mirror, telling her "'Mother' is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children," and making the morphine to run out of her veins. She sobers up and we next see her clean, smiling and cooking breakfast for Sarah. Eric's flashback memories of Shelly; the tenderness and passion of their romance. Rescuing Sarah the skateboarder from an oncoming car; when she complains she wished the rain would stop he replies, "It can't rain all the time." Shelly and Eric's ghostly embrace and reunion at their graves.

Also notable is the highlighting of the depths of T-Bird's gang's moral decay. When confronted by a grieving Eric, Tin-Tin has no compassion nor remorse...or shock. Tin-Tin's not the least bit taken by the supernatural quality of Eric's existence: Instead, he cruelly taunts Eric about having enjoyed raping Shelly. Funboy moans "You've ruined my sheets!" after being shot, and when dying of multiple morphine injections his last words are "You're wasting it!" Top Dollar's henchmen prove there's no honor amongst thieves/criminals.

Most poignant of course is Brandon Lee's own real-life engagement, soon to be wed and tragic death during filming. The scene of flashlight-bearing children in masks and costumes, running towards and past him on a dark street, seems a "goodbye" scene to the actor himself.

I think of The Crow as a love story first and foremost, even if I'm not a great romantic.

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