I may have just read the Harry Potter books last year, but I grew up watching the movies. For me, Daniel Radcliffe has always been the Boy Who Lived. And maybe I’ve been holding on to my youth, or maybe I haven’t seen enough of his recent work, but since the last HP movie was released in 2011 (holy Toledo, has it been that long!?), I’ve found it difficult to fully separate DRad from HPot. This movie changed that.
Imperium features a whole new Danielle Radcliffe, and he is one talented mother clucker. With his shaved head, militant attire, and all around don’t-mess-with-me attitude, Radcliffe convincingly, and chillingly, portrays a young FBI agent who goes undercover to infiltrate a neo-Nazi organization that his supervisor (and no one else) believes may be graduating from hate speech and generally horrible yet ultimately un-actionable offences to a large-scale bomb attack in DC. So yeah, a little different than good old HP.
While the movie itself had some downfalls—it was almost too easy for Nate to gain the trust of not one, but four high-ranking white supremacists in their respective organizations—Radcliffe’s performance was skillful, focussed, and riveting.
Eddie Redmayne is wonderful in this film. Incredibly well cast, he does a fantastic job portraying Lili Elbe, one of the first people to undergo gender reassignment surgery in the 1920s. I believed him as Einar (the male body in which Lili was born), and, even more so, I believed him as Lili. And I believed him when he was stuck in between.
And don’t even get me started on Alicia Vikander as Gerda, Einar’s loving and devoted wife. If the film is true to life, then Gerda was an astounding woman for her time—so much more than the fearful, fragile housewife one would expect to find in this story—and Vikander played her the way she deserved to be played: brilliantly.
Oh, and the tagline is lovely: “Find the courage to be yourself.”
I hate to say it, because this truly was/is an incredible story—and heart wrenching to boot—but honestly, the first half hour and the last fifteen minutes are all you really need to watch. And though I wish it were not the case, here are a few things that you could do to pass about an hour in the middle and still not miss a beat:
- Change into your exercise clothes, lace up your runners, and meander on down to the store to purchase the ingredients to make Rice Krispie treats
- Whip up a batch of Rice Krispie treats
- Eat Rice Krispie treats while watching two episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
- Look up hilarious blooper reels of Brooklyn Nine-Nine
I cannot stop watching this show.
What I love about Tarantino is that, despite his love for gratuitous blood and gore and overtly racist—and this time misogynistic—dialogue, he’s a subversive genius. It’s like he’s going around violently flipping tables (ALL THE REVENGE) in order to reveal the larger issue hidden underneath (slavery in Django Unchained is the most obvious example), but his style of filmmaking is so loud and in-your-face the the issue uncovered by the table flipping goes largely unnoticed until long after the carnage has been dealt with.
If you can stomach hearing the cartilage break in Daisy’s nose, projectile blood-vomit, and watching a head (and a few other body parts) explode, I recommend you sit through The Hateful Eight to learn a thing or two.