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Movie Thoughts - "Based on True Events"

Posted on the 27 September 2011 by Raghavmodi @raghavmodi
We've all seen movies that are based on real events. Serial killer movies shock us. Films about great leaders inspire us. Cinematic stories about standing against the institution or fighting against adversities give us the courage to take the day head on. But, have you ever looked at a movie that is based on a true event from purely a cinematic point of view. Can you?
Take Invictus for instance. There is no doubt that Mr. Nelson Mandela is a legend, an inspirational leader par none, and what he has done for not only Africa, but the entire World, cannot be replicated. So does the fact that Invictus is based on his life events make it a great film automatically? There is no doubt that the movie is inspirational, but on the whole purely from a film point of view, I felt it falls short of greatness that it should and could have reached.
On the other end of the same line are movies that are "sort" of based on real events. Blood Diamond is an amazing and from what I am made to believe truthful look at the diamond trade originating in Africa. As a film, I felt Blood Diamond was too commercialised. It featured and favoured mostly Leonardo DiCaprio's character missing out on the more important issues. But, I would still recommend the movie because as far as I know it's one of the few movies that gives the audience an inside look at the conditions around the trade.
So, my question to you is that are we, as human beings, able to differentiate a movie from its story? Can we look at a real life event based serial killer movie and purely evaluate it as a movie, or is it that our emotions are bound to interfere and make us appreciate the film even if it's not of the best quality just because of the content?
Now, for me it goes both way. Yes at times I have felt that a movie was not well made. Maybe it took an angle that I personally did not like, or maybe the acting was bad, or still it did not do justice to the story. But, in most cases i'm bound to fall for the emotions attached to the film. It's important to realize that there is nothing wrong in feeling this way. That for me is the whole point and power of cinema. It should evoke emotions into the hearts of the audience and make them think. It should make them realize that we don't live in a perfect world and bad things happen. Lastly, it should also give them the courage, by example, to stand up and fight for their rights.
Any movie that states it is "Based on True Events" almost immediately has my full attention. I admit that I am bound to have a certain fascination with the movie be whatever the story. "Based on Real Events" movies are also a great way to learn about the world. Had it not been for Zodiac I would never have known about the zodiac killer. Gandhi by Richard Attenborough probably thought me more about the great Indian leader than any text book. Bully was a shocking look at how teenagers of today think. In fact even Invictus informed me about a story that I was not aware of.
In conclusion, even if a "Based on True Events" movie is badly made, but it manages to inform, educate, or evoke emotion in the audience, then for me it is easy to look over the negatives of the film and still appreciate it.
What do you think?

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