I had never seen this film before. It had come out when I was a child and honestly I’ve never had the attention span for it when it was popular. I know that this is considered a classic but come on. I know that I’m a pretty cold guy but honestly this flick really is dishonest.
Painfully shy Todd Anderson has been sent to the school where his popular older brother was valedictorian. His roommate, Neil, although exceedingly bright and popular, is very much under the thumb of his overbearing father. The two, along with their other friends, meet Professor Keating, their new English teacher, who tells them of the Dead Poets Society, and encourages them to go against the status quo. Each, in their own way, does this, and is changed for life.
Hypocrisy is the order of the day in DEAD POETS SOCIETY. It gives a rousing, inspirational sermon ("Seize the day!" is the teacher's motto.), yet the story itself mocks the film's supposed intentions. DEAD POETS SOCIETY is about failure, but it won't admit it; worse, it seems to believe it's own inspirational PR. The film serves up a tacked on and utterly false moment of triumph at the end, but everything that proceeds that is a lesson in failure. Williams fails to teach the students to show moral courage. One student commits suicide rather than fight for his beliefs. When Williams is wrongly accused of something, his supposedly adoring students turn on him like a pack of weasels. The one student who stands up for his ideals is expelled from the school and forgotten by the film. A father fails his son. The school fails its students. And the film fails its audience.
Yet, for some inexplicable reason, people remember the film for its inspirational message: Seize the day! Carpe Diem! Fine words, but at no time are they supported by the empty pessimism that the film displays. The characters that do take chances are immediately and soundly punished. Those who knuckle under -- showy, petty acts of deviance aside -- plod along.
However the film looks and sounds great on blu-ray. The special features are also amazing.
- Audio Commentary: I always welcome a chance to listen to Peter Weir
- Dead Poets: A Look Back: An engrossing feature that's well-worth watching.
- Raw Takes: A deleted scene that really failed. Great omission.
- Master of Sound: Alan Splet: Weir and filmmaker David Lynch discuss the life, career and cinematic contributions of the late Academy Award-winning sound designer, Alan Splet. This is amazing.
- Cinematography Master Class (SD, 15 minutes): Seale talks about the impossibility of perfection before a narrator takes over and nearly spoils the entire thing.
Ok I understand why people like this movie. But the whole thing just does not sit with me properly. Sorry it’s just not a movie for me.
Dead Poets Society [Blu-ray] just hit the stores this week!
We received product for our review. All opinions are our own