Okay so apparently this movie isn't completely factual and maybe it airbrushes some stuff and maybe (despite the 195 minute running time) the second half feels a bit rushed as it tries to cover a lot of ground. But who cares? This is a good movie. And it is much better than I thought it would be.
After being disappointed with the other two movies from this era that I've recently seen (Ordinary People, Sophie's Choice) this does not feel dated at all except for the fact that a movie like this would never get made now. So I guess it feels dated in a good way. If it were made today, it would be 95 minutes shorter and it would be neutered so the "mainstream" would understand it. It would be written by Aaron Sorkin and star Tom Hanks and it would suck.
The cinematography is striking. I could watch the Finnish ice crossing scenes over and over again. Warren Beatty and Diane Keaton are great. And then there's Maureen Stapleton as Emma Goldman, Jack Nicholson as Eugene O'Neill, and Richard Herrmann as Max Eastman.
I found the movie pretty illuminating. I didn't know anything about John Reed and Louise Bryant and was fascinated by their story. I also really liked all of the talking heads scenes of old socialists reminiscing that were interspersed generously throughout. I find it remarkable that at the beginning of the Reagan era, a movie about communism (even though it isn't all rah rah Russkies) would be such a cultural touchstone.
Directed by Warren Beatty
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