CARL FRANKLIN, No False Move! A Director’s Director!

In the cinema world, there are more or less two types of people. Those who follow stars, and those who follow directors.

Most people are the former, it’s the big name stars they gravitate to.

I’ve always been the latter. It’s the director, who for me, is the heart of the film. Is the singular vision to follow.

From the early greats of Ford and Welles, and Hitchcock and Lean. It is the stylistic ticks of the director, that has always excited me about film. The vision of singular directors, singular men and women, who early on instilled in me a love of these ghosts of celluloid.

My favorite directors? I have too many to make any kind of comprehensive list, too many to state my favorites of all time. But how about every so often I toss out my list of favorite directors of the moment.

Carl Franklin since his 1992 cult favorite ONE FALSE MOVE, has proved himself a unique and fantastic filmmaker. The fact that he has made very few films in the 16 years since that movie, just says a lot about the vagaries of the commercial market. Costs are up, competition is stiff, and distribution is monopolized.

In such a market, even favored, name directors find getting a movie made, and distributed a task of near Herculean proportions.

As the market changes, and fights a shrinking consumer base (why go to the movies when the rental will be here in 3 months or less? Or when cable offers slick alternatives in the convenience of your home?) more and more movies go straight to DVD.

A trend that sees no sign of slowng.

And what that means is The Pekinpah’s and Curtiz’s of our time find themselves relegated to doing tv or video games to pay the bills. And movie Stars find themselves doing laxative commercials.

A hard market.

So in such a hard market, a Carl Franklin flick is something both rare and prized.

His must see movies to date being:

ONE FALSE MOVE(1992)- Starring Rae Dawn Chong, Bill Paxton, Billy Bob Thornton, and Michael Beach. A thriller, road trip, sleeper, cult crime flick, that may seem derivative now, but when first released there was nothing else like it. *** out of ****.

DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS(1997)- Walter Mosley’s stunning debut novel, becomes with the collaboration of Director Franklin and stars Denzel Washington and Don Cheadle, that rarest of gems, the film that improves upon the source material. Joining a small list of films that include Michael Mann’s MANHUNTER, and Zack Snyder’s 300. **** out of ****.

OUT OF TIME(2003)- A stunning action/cop thriller that reteams Franklin and Washington, and tosses in a great cast of actors, great locales, and effective sex and sensuality. Met with middling reviews on release, it’s a fantastic film with real noir roots. Arguably the best neo-film noir since the Cohen Brother’s BLOOD SIMPLE or Craig Ross’ CAPPUCCINO. An endlessly rewatchable film. **** out of ****.

Franklin hasn’t done a film since 2003, but according to IMDB he has two in production for 2009. A thriller called SNITCH which sounds interesting, and a drama called THE SENATOR’S WIFE.

Here’s hoping they both make it to the big screen, and that Carl Franklin keeps knocking it out the park.

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