«Still an intriguing and powerful film. Hard to think that these computer based sprites still have so much realism and life, obviously helped by some perfect directing and astounding performances. This remains to this day my favourite machinima.»
Dignity of Men (HQ)
«This is one of the best films I know - be that 'real' movies or machinima - and it defies everyone who still thinks machinima is just for 'fun little films'.
Wonderful writing, the characters are so believable - this is certainly a film that's hard to watch - it moves me to tears every time I watch it.
The acting, music, camera; everything pulls you in and forces you to ponder the questions the film throws up.
Great, great work, an all-time classic.»
In preparation for this new reprint I watched the original immediately beforehand and was captivated again.
Then I saw the new version - better sound, better graphics quality, yet still the same classic movie ...
... and classic it most certainly is.
Easily one of the greatest films ever to be made with The Movies and, if there is such a thing, "machinima" as an art form.
If George Orwell's "1984" is considered a classic book then this film is its mirror in machinima.
A political dissident under a fascist regime (possibly in an alternate universe, as alluded to halfway through the film - looks like a fascist version of the USA) is brought in for questioning by the state.
He knows the names of other dissidents and is subjected to any number of tortures by the authorities in order to give them up.
Will he crack? That is the central premise of the film.
The beauty of the movie is that it doesn't give much back story - there's precious little attempt to "develop" the characters. It is what the main character stands for (freedom, equality) which automatically gets us on his side - the few words and narration he utters cement that notion in spades. As the film goes on, we learn more about him and empathise with him even more.
The events unfold and are given a terrifically ambiguous, yet extremely tidy, ending.
The actors who play the hero and the interrogator are outstanding in their roles - especially in the protagonist's case; he must sell his dignified pain in very few sentences and manages it almost effortlessly. Under severe electrical torture he goes mentally to "that other place" where he's sharing a pistachio nut with his pregnant beloved, the most touching scene in the film. Thanks to a terrific performance, we truly savour how delicious his half of the pistachio tastes!
It boils down to this - would you stoically stand your ground and not shop your mates if you knew that you had a lifetime with your new child and wife as an alternative to certain pain and death?
The interrogator plays on this beautifully - after watching this movie you will never smell a rose or eat a pistachio nut the same way again!
The editing almost goes unnoticed, so smooth and slick and perfectly paced. The camerawork is great too; halfway through, I caught a transition - two images on screen faded into each other. That must've been a first for The Movies when this was made, as no outside editing was allowed. Overlays must have been painstakingly employed for this scene.
The musical score is excellent (by Sherwin Liu) - but the instruments used are very General Midi (ie. crap). I think there's room to improve this film further by sending the midi files to someone with good sounds on their synth. To be honest, this film deserves live musicians - a good string quartet for most scenes with additional lower brass. Only the real deal deserves to grace this classic.
"Dignity of Men" is a classic film - not to watch it should be a crime punishable by the state. During the film, the main character is invited to one of the government's "political education" meetings - one imagines a surrogate church (the regime has banned all other religion). Well - I'm "inviting" (forcing) anyone who's not seen this to my own "film appreciation" meeting!
A wonderful film that deserves to be converted into a real-life cinema masterpiece. »
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