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Get Shorty - Film Review

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by Tinderlocks (subscribe)
I'm a budding sound designer and composer for film. I live, eat and breathe movies!
Published January 18th 2013

I had heard so many good reviews about this film and it was always playing on TV when I was growing up, so it was about time I finally watched it. Well, I have to say that it definitely lives up to expectations.

The story follows a "shylock" named Chili Palmer (Travolta). Yes, I did have to look up what a shylock was and the answer was a loan shark collector. Of course I didn't exactly know what a loan shark was and the definition turned out to be a moneylender who charges massive interest rates. Anyway, so doing his job of collecting debts, he travels to Hollywood and after unforeseen circumstances, gets into the film business.

Get Shorty is very cleverly written with witty, engaging dialogue, often self-referential (talking about how mafia movies turn out while it was itself a mafia film). While watching it I was reminded of Quentin Tarantino. It had very similar Tarantino "cool" aspects like the fluid and extensive dialogue, the trendy choice of music (a lot of Booker T and the MGs), and the combination of violence and humour. However, I recently watched The Godfather and I have to say both Tarantino and Sonnenfeld were paying tribute to the founders of mafia films, like Francis Ford Coppola.

So, production wise it was very good. Acting was excellent (Travolta is cool as ice), music choice was very stylish, and the camera work was not standard instead engaging (quite a few extended shots). Sound design was good but it wasn't a sound heavy movie, much more emphasis on dialogue. It was an overall cool, swish movie. What did let it down in my opinion was it was a tad too comical and the ending was just a bit of a let down. If it had upped the violence a bit and had a more shocking, climactic ending it would have ascended to the level of Reservoir Dogs or Goodfellas (even though I haven't actually seen that movie).

So, I liked the movie a great deal. It was well written, well acted and with a high production value. Like I mentioned before it could have been grittier but it was a comedy after all. I looked up the director, Barry Sonnenfeld, and found out he had directed the Men In Black movies. Get Shorty is by far superior. I'd give the movie a 6.5 out of 10.

Directed by Barry Sonnenfeld.
Written by Elmore Leonard (novel), Scott Frank (screenplay).
Starring John Travolta, Gene Hackman, Rene Russo, Danny DeVito, Dennis Farina, Delroy Lindo, James Gandolfini etc.
Country: USA
Language: English
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Where: On DVD
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