the fresh films reviews

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Titanic (1997)

James Cameron
198 minutes
James Cameron
Jon Landau
James Cameron

Cast includes:

Jack Dawson Leonardo DiCaprio
Rose DeWitt Bukater Kate Winslet
Cal Hockley Billy Zane
Molly Brown Kathy Bates
Ruth DeWitt Bukater Frances Fisher
Captain E.J. Smith Bernard Hill
J. Bruce Ismay Jonathan Hyde
Fabrizio De Rossi Danny Nucci -
Spicer Lovejoy David Warner
Brock Lovett Bill Paxton -
Old Rose Gloria Stuart
Thomas Andrews Victor Garber -
Lizzy Calvert Suzy Amis -
Tommy Ryan Jason Barry -
Chief Officer Wilde Mark Lindsay Chapman -



It seemed only reasonable that when James Cameron at the height of his success was to make a film about Titanic, a ship borne by megalomania, his approach would be similarly megalomaniac. Overwhelming and innovative special effects, an unscrupulous running time, and a classic, over-sized romance with all the mushiest ingredients: poor vs. rich, working class vs. aristocracy, old vs. new world-order, love's conquest of superficial values such as status, appearance and etiquette. And as the HMS Titanic disappears into the Atlantic void, it pulls all those old-fashioned, old-worldly values down with it. And what survives, in the wake of the romantic tragedy, is youthfulness, hope and equality personified by Rose, a formative representative of America and the new social order.

As always with Cameron's films, there is self-indulgence and badly hidden patriotism lurking underneath the surface. And the ridiculous in-your-face attitude of his scientists and the contemporary Rose is something we'll always have to bear over with when it comes to Cameron films. But in the case of Titanic, these must be considered insignificant details, nothing but wrapping for his wonderfully atmospheric, extremely detailed presentation of the ship itself and its one and only cross-atlantic journey. It is in the portrayal of the famous tragedy that Cameron's talent as a storyteller and filmmaker comes into its own, and coupled with the remarkable technical achievement of the film a department in which Cameron was in a league of his own in the 1990s this elevates Titanic to one of the most imposing films of the period, easily overshadowing the somewhat melodramatic nature of the romance and the simplistic dichotomy of good and bad. Rarely has an historical event been filmed in such a devoted and realistic way, and although Titanic isn't the most creative or artistic entry in James Cameron's impressive catalogue, it might still well be remembered as his magnum opus.


Re-review: Copyright 25.9.2010 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang
Original review:
Copyright 26.2.1998 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang