Thursday, February 26, 2009

Classic Scene #2: "What do you want?"

Okay, so we're starting back up Classic Scene here on Dark Habits and I thought given I'm still living in Australia I would cast an eye back to something with a bit of Antipodean flavour. Crocodile Dundee might not be a film many (any?) people consider a classic but I would argue that Paul Hogan's portrayal of exotic Aussie bloke Mick who's-one-with-the-bush is a caricature worthy of classic status. More than that even, Crocodile Dundee is also a bloody good love story half set in the home of the romantic comedy New York City...

No doubt most remember the scene in which Linda Kozlowski got attacked by the croc whilst wearing that slip of a swimming costume or perhaps Mick showing us what a real knife looks like, but for me it's the ending that gets me every time. Accompanied by a wonderful emotion score that never fails to carry me away in the moment underpinned by dramatic tension of potentially losing someone you care for without ever telling them you love them; it might be the stuff of Hollywood but damn if it isn't executed well here.

There's character arc in Kozlowski's Sue Charlton fighting off a harasser by kneeing him in the balls (check out the breakdancing who glides out the way in the background) and there's a genius subtle streak of comedy from the supporting players especially in the game of Chinese whispers. First the helpful concierge with that knife, and the New Yawk construction worker who gets to tell Mick he loves him, and then my personal favourite Sullivan Walker credited as Tall Man. When Sue answers his question "what do you want", he turns with a facial expression that speaks a thousand words for the briefest of moments that says 'this lady's crazy but I'm gonna to roll with it'. Finally, when he turns and asks "why not" he is the screenwriter's tool and the audience at once.

In a city like New York, where the personal and private becomes public the finale is all the more enriching for the shared experience. A moment on the subway when angry, sweaty and invaded commuters come together to the point which they will cheer and clap a guy in pointy leather boots walking across their heads.

Happy endings might often be the obvious endings, but sometimes they are also the perfect ones.