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No. 3, February 2000
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Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.

Ronin
A film by John Frankenheimer. Starring Robert DeNiro, Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgard, Natascha McElhone.
Get Ronin on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Directmedia Schweiz.

In feudal Japan, the Samurai were sworn to protect their liege-lords with their lives. Those Samuari whose liege was killed suffered great shame and they were forced to wander the land, looking for work as hired swords or bandits. Such men were called Ronin.
 
John Frankenheimer's film does not take place in Japan, but in today's Paris. The cast is impressive: Robert de Niro, Jean Reno, Sean Bean, Jonathan Pryce and, in a small part as a Russian ice princess, former East German Olympic and World Championship gold medalist Katarina Witt. Young actress Natascha McElhone is convincing in her role as a Northern Ireland terror group member. She had a coach to teach her to speak with a Northern Irish dialect. The real sensation in Ronin is Swedish actor Stellan Skarsgard in the role of Gregor. Robert de Niro and Jean Reno, two of my favourite actors, look very pale besides him.
 
The film about a group of specialists with the mission to get a secret case with unknown content on behalf of an Irish group focuses on the interactions between the members of the hired "Ronin" and on spectacular car chases. In total, Frankenheimer, a former car racer, had 80 cars deliberately crashed during the film-making. All scenes are real, there were no digital computer-generated gimmicks used in Ronin. Frankenheimer does not believe that violence happens in slow motion. Therefore, all the shooting scenes take place in real time.
 
The film is cut in jumps in time. There are no off-voice explanations. Moviegoers are rushed into scenes and learn from the beginning through the dialogues who is who. "The film editing is intended to make you uneasy," Frankenheimer says in his comments on Ronin (an interesting special feature of the DVD, covering the whole movie). Something is happening, but you are aware that things are not the way they seem to be.
 
Director John Frankenheimer, by a special process that reduces primary colours and exagerates the black, had all colours muted. In addition, no actor wears bright clothes. All that enhances the movie's film noir feeling. Despite all good intentions, Ronin has some too calculated cheap elements in it. As stated in the beginning, the film is above all worth watching for the impressive acting by Stellan Skarsgard.
 




Ronin. A film by John Frankenheimer. Starring Robert DeNiro, Jean Reno, Stellan Skarsgard, Natascha McElhone. Get Ronin on DVD from Amazon.com, Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.fr, Directmedia Schweiz.
 
For more articles on film: Film.
 

www.cosmopolis.ch
No. 3, February 2000
current edition & archives
Art  Film  Music  History  Politics  All Previous Articles
Links  For Advertisers  Feedback  German edition  Travel

Copyright 2000  www.cosmopolis.ch  Louis Gerber  All rights reserved.