Lately I’ve come to a realization that I have a very strong emotional connection to the movie watching experience. This post will mostly be about my crying (I’m also an avid loud-laugher, awkward when enjoying a great over-the-top murder scene in a packed cinema, but more on that in a future post) and what I think triggers those emotions in me. Now I’m not a total cry baby I’ve got two (I believe) crying modes and I’m gonna try to explain them here in an attempt to answer the question how I literally cried myself through the entire feature film Tracks at the cinema.
First up is the mode I think everyone more or less have, you can’t help but get involved with the story emotionally because you are so drawn into it. The prime mother of this mode is the opening scene of Up See it embedded below.
I remember having this kind of connection to films at a really young age, for example I felt very uncomfortable trying to hide the fact that I was about to bawl right out during the Rocky post fight scene during the “Aaaadriiiaaan” moment. Total awkwardness… or why not the Han Solo carbonate freezing scene from Empire Strikes Back.
Mode two is more rare and perhaps more unique to me. It’s connected to my love of movies and also the fact that my dream is to produce my own feature films and wanting them to reach out to a wide audience. It’s basically when a sequence is really brilliant put together or all the different elements (cinematography, directing, editing score etc.) intertwine in a way that it enhances my viewing experience so much that I literally start to cry because it’s so good put together. Here I’ve also have early memories from when seeing Runaway Train for the first time and being blown away by the epic Manny vs Ranken subplot. I couldn’t find the exact scene I’d like to exemplify with but the ending kind of works too. So warning for end spoiler of Runaway Train below.
To be honest many of these mode two moments come from very over-the-top and often somewhat clichéd sequences. Like Ranken approaching the train hanging from under a police helicopter but also the Long Kiss Goodnight and several of the Fast and the Furious installments are filled with what I’d almost call emotional guilty pleasure moments. There is also moments of pure quality to this mode when it’s just that good that gets this kind of emotion out of me. Silence of the Lambs, All the Presidents Men and the Godfather some fine examples where I always have napkins at hand when watching them.
Well, back to the reason why I’m writing this in the first place. As mentioned I’ve had some kind of embarrassment attached to crying to movies and it has followed me as I’ve grown up. When watching Up (totally mode one) I came to the realization within myself that it’s really just fine to let it all out.
However, just a year after that I went and saw Toy Story 3 in the cinema and was so choked up by one of the most emotional scenes (again mode one) so it almost got ridiculous how much I cried. This happened again at a repeat watching in cinema and yet again when watching the film on Blu-ray at home. To be fair it’s probably THE best dramatic scene ever directed if you ask me so it’s not that strange, but I still find it a little odd being so totally emotionally involved in a scene from an animated film.
The take away from this was that I now realized how emotionally close I am with films and ever since I’ve had really close to my tears when going to the cinema. It’s like a water tap was left unscrewed. Most of the times it’s the mode two moments like the epic character setup in Furious 6 (such a flawed film in so many ways) but I love the family focused opening setup so much that I got the most awkward stare down ever by a seven-year old girl who sat next to me with her dad from all my sobbing during that sequence.
So what has all this got to do with Tracks? As mentioned in the opening paragraph I cried myself through the entire film. I’m useless at plot summaries so I’m gonna keep it simple. A girl decides to walk through half Australia which is more or less a desolate desert/wilderness land together with a couple of camels. After seeing it I would have pitched it as “Gravity in the desert”. The theme(s) might be similar but the characters have completely different motivations Sandra Bullocks character is affected by her conflict when Mia Wasikowska (lead character in Tracks) seeks it actively, its more of a calling.
I’m not lying when I say that I had tears in my eyes throughout the entire film. I think the greatness lies in the fact that it’s just such a gripping story that doesn’t try to lure you in by overselling scenes, which is a really big thing with mode two, especially in cheesy films which I’m a sucker for. If dissecting Tracks I’d say its most mode one because of the strong story even though it lacks emotional super spikes like the mentioned Rocky ending or the Up intro.
I’m not gonna dwell in too much detail why I connected so strongly with the film but my main take away was the portrayal of a character being super determined about starting up her quest even though she has all the odds against her. Tracks also have insanely beautiful cinematography (courtesy of Mandy Walker). I’m normally not a fan of flashy attention-seeking cinematography but Mandy manages to show off without it becoming a distraction to the story. If there’s any justice she’ll get some attention during awards season ’15.
For me Tracks is easily the best film of the year so far and everyone and their mother should go and see it asap because it deserves all the attention it can possibly get.
Also make sure you visit my Swedish blog colleagues that I saw the film with they write in Swedish but its pretty easy to read through google translate or similar services. Here are their links: Fiffi, Jojjenito and Henke