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Wow. Rubicon. Did anyone else watch? Is anyone else as impressed as I am?

It seems to be positioned somewhere along the X-Files/Fringe continuum, but it's all conspiracy and no woo-woo (as far as I can tell so far). It features James Badge Dale as an introverted genius who works for API, some kind of company or agency involved in decoding...things. He sees patterns. He knows lots of stuff. He has up hair! He looks like Art Garfunkel's pretty son.

The pilot ep reveals just the edges of what's clearly going to be a long and complex arc involving a grand conspiracy, my favorite kind of show structure.

In one nicely symbolic scene, Will Travers (the James Badge Dale character) opens what seems to be an antique globe, but is actually a kind of cabinet, inside which is a chess board with a game in progress. I think that might be the metaphor for the whole story: at the heart of everything in the world is a game.

Rubicon is gorgeously filmed in muted tones, scenes alternating between warmly sepia and coolly blue-gray in what I'm sure is a meaningful way. Each frame seems filled with clues.

The editing is unusual--the way scenes are set up and shot, and the choices about when to cut between shots--drew my attention and kept me focused on the story.

There's a lot of backlighting, there are a lot of overhead camera shots looking straight down, there are key moments where the camera establishes a still interior scene for a second or two before the actor walks into it.

There's a lot of this:

and this:

and this:
rubicon 5

and a ton of this:

and this:

And I bet the director and cinematographer wanted to spit when they saw what the FCC and the network did to this Ang Lee-esque shot:

The music is moody and tense, the acting is low-key and quiet, there's a vanishingly small amount of humor, and things don't move very fast, and yet the episode is fascinating.

I'm very interested in seeing more of this show. The series officially starts on August 11, on AMC.



( 7 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 17th, 2010 05:53 pm (UTC)
I hope Rubicon does come your way. It's on AMC, the cable network that created Mad Men, and if it's half as good as the pilot indicates, I'd imagine it will make its way quickly across the Atlantic.

You have not rambled at me about Quintet. Do!
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 18th, 2010 03:43 pm (UTC)
I just watched a trailer for it on IMDB (where I also learned that Futurama is coming back--new episodes on Comedy Central starting next week).

Not a very informative trailer--in fact, a super annoying one by today's standards, in which the trailer is supposed to tell the entire story of the movie in rapid-fire bursts.

On Netflix, where yes, it is available, the reviews are dismal, with the best anyone can say about it being, and I quote, "Dont be afraid of it. Its nowhere nearly as bad as some reviews have said." That reviewer compares it to Solaris and THX1138, both of which I've seen and kind of enjoyed, so maybe I'll give Quintet a whirl.
(Deleted comment)
Jun. 18th, 2010 06:16 pm (UTC)
The only thing I remember about Solaris is George Clooney's naked ass. And even that could not impart one iota of cheerfulness to the movie. I remember it as one of the most dismal, slow-moving movies I've ever watched. And yet I didn't hate it.

If Netflix has Quintet, then it's on DVD. I'm kind of curious to check it out now!
Jun. 17th, 2010 06:44 pm (UTC)
I left the TV on after the season finale of Breaking Bad and AMC aired the sneak peek of the pilot immediately after it. I was doing the old multi-tasking routine so I wasn't paying great attention to it however I will probably rewatch it when I get a chance.

Jun. 17th, 2010 07:38 pm (UTC)
I don't like to jump the gun, because it was only a pilot, and heaven knows shows get re-tooled after a pilot, often in fairly radical ways, but yeah. If Rubicon the show lives up to the promise of Rubicon the pilot, it'll be worth watching for sure.
Jun. 18th, 2010 01:16 am (UTC)
One of the ways I judge if a show is watchable is from listening to the dialogue alone. If that strikes my ear and interest, then I will sit down to watch it properly.

The pilot did that.
Jun. 18th, 2010 07:59 am (UTC)
Oh good!

Yes, just listening to dialog without the pretty distractions of scene, action and actors, is the best way to judge the writing, which, in turn, is a good way to judge the show.
( 7 comments — Leave a comment )



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