Friday, November 28, 2008
Utilizing archival footage and recreated scenes, director Gus Van Sant brings us the life and times of Harvey Milk (not to be confused with the documentary of the same name). Mr. Milk was the first openly gay official elected to public office back in the late 70's. His short time as San Francisco City Supervisor was a major victory for gay and civil rights.
Sean Penn, as Mr. Milk, adds another terrific performance to his portfolio. He is truly the best actor of his generation. Along with Mr. Penn, the film also features James Franco, Emile Hirsch, Diego Luna, Allison Pill, Dennis O'Hare, and Josh Brolin. All are excellent in their roles with Mr. Brolin, especially adding another excellent notch to his belt coming off "No Country For Old Men", and "W.". James Franco, as well, has shown depth and diversity to every film he's been in this year and he does the same in "Milk".
While a fascinating and important time capsule of a turbulent time, "Milk" becomes a bit tedious with protest after protest and election after election. It is Mr. Penn's powerful performance that propels the film to it's inevitable end. Where "Milk" succeeds is in honoring the life of a remarkable man who helped bring change to a country very much in need of it.