Revisiting Great Films

Meet Joe Black (1998)
Directed by Martin Brest
Staring:  Brad Pitt and Anthony Hopkins

It is rare to see a film that is as quiet as it is forceful. It's like standing before a breathtaking view alone with only the sounds of life and nature. Such a view inspires awe, reverence and silence. This comes close to the unusual feeling I get whenever I watch "Meet Joe Black".

I had the occasion to watch it again, and I was caught up in its magic one more time.

Yes, it is of ungainly length (3 hours), and it is slow by modern film standards, but it engrosses me, because it is unique. Director Martin Brest and acting heavyweights Anthony Hopkins and Brad Pitt make each scene so weighty and powerful that the hidden drama of Death, literally personified by Mr. Pitt's character Joe Black, presence with good man William Parrish, Anthony Hopkins, never leaves the viewers attention.

Mr. Pitt acts with a gentleness and power that he has rarely demonstrated in any other character. Mr. Hopkins portrayal leaps off the screen like a force of nature equaling death, itself -- how many actors can do that?

The final corporate war confrontation between the character of Drew, portrayed by gifted actor Jake Weber (from TV's "Medium"), versus Black and Parrish is a true delight - Mr. Weber would have to be gifted to hold his own in a scene with Mr. Pitt and Mr. Hopkins (and he does so on three separate occasions in the film).

Of special note is the performance by Claire Forlani, portraying the daughter of William Parrish, who falls in love with Joe Black. She has a special gentleness in her performance, which makes it completely believable that if something like "Death" physically walked the Earth, he would fall in love with her.

I wish that a film like "Meet Joe Black" could have reached its audience at 3 hours, like "Titanic", but life and the world does not work that way.

I do hope anyone who reads this review, gives this film a chance, and lets its quiet passion sweep them up.


  dennis ChiU

Green light means "Go: this is a must-see movie".

Yellow light means "Caution: I re- commend this film with reservations".

Red light means "Stop: don't waste your time".