"He wouldn't.. he couldn't.." -me watching Fritz Lang move the camera through a closed window in 1931
What begins simply as a lockdown comedy special turns into a compelling capture of the trajectory of our collective mental state(s) since the pandemic began. In the early months, his songs are filled with cheeky reflections on global issues, privilege, and winky self-negating inquiries as to why one should listen to a white guy tell jokes.
The more elaborate attempts at comedic engagement on the macro level recede, however, as his mental health deteriorates. His political frustrations become more immediate…
Feels completely contemporary in the ways it endlessly mines humor from a despicable lead character. Marcello Mastroianni gives a performance so shamelessly depraved, so perfectly pathetic, it became the first foreign film to land an Oscar nomination for lead actor - a comedy! And the direction and editing keeps up with him. The hilarious bit at the top where his internal narration persists despite being interrupted and quieted by a look from his wife exemplifies how this whole world (and us, the audience) are at the mercy of his shady idiosyncrasies, and it's a delight to be held hostage.
Movies like 'Hunted' are the reason why us fans of the genre slog through so many mediocre films - for gems like this that come out of nowhere and breathe new life into tropes that, much like our villains, refuse to stay dead. What a beautifully shot, thrilling, and darkly hilarious movie. Best of Fantasia so far.