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January 13, 1984 - Image 7

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The Michigan Daily, 1984-01-13

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, January 13, 1984 - Page 7

Strong acting

saves 'Silkwood'

By Dan Dahl
TWENTIETH CENTURY-FOX'S Silkwood, star-
ring Meryl Streep as Karen Silkwood, Cher as
her friend and housemate, and Kurt Russell, as her
boyfriend, objectively documents the events of
Karen's life, ending with her mysterious death.
A lab technician at the Cimarron Plutonium
processing plant in Crescent, Oklahoma, Karen was
the subject of numerous controversies. It is widely
speculated that she was murdered en route to meet a
reporter from The New York Times with documents
that would have embarrassed her employer, Kerr-
McGee.
Working with a true story, director Mike Nichols
and co-writer Nora Ephron were rigidly confined to
the factual story, complicated by the ambiguity of
Karen's death.
To avoid controversy and possible legal difficulties,
the creators of Silkwood leave the decision to their
audience as to whether Karen was murdered or
merely involved in a drug-related car accident. Not
only is this safer for the plot, it demands active par-
ticipation from the audience; optimally, the viewer
assumes the role of juror and judge, weighing the
evidence which includes Karen's relationships,
motives and emotional makeup.
Perhaps the most impressive facet of Silkwood is
the performance of Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell.
As demonstrated in Sophie's Choice, Meryl Streep
has ingenious control of her audience's emotions. In
addition, she sings very well, and interacts power-

fully with Kurt Russell.
Nichols develops all of his characters effectively. I
expected to dislike Cher, but was pleasantly sur-
prised. Unlike her gaudy and offensive television
persona, Cher, dressed simply, adopted a clumsy,
unsophisticated manner of speech and presented her
character as genuinely vulnerable.
Silkwood is reminiscent of the China Syndrome in
plot and story. Likewise, it addresses the perplexing
conflict between the individual and corporation, and
effectively illustrates the difficult struggle Karen
embarks upon to change existing conditions.
Mike Nichols utilizes various techniques which lend
enormously to the thematic impact of the film.
Scenes of Karen, Drew (Russell) and Dolly (Cher)
driving in the car against an endless ribbon of high-
way and a vast expanse of sky show their in-
significance in the face of the great odds they face.
Carefully chosen ingredients such as the Confederate
flag and Karen's anthem, "Amazing Grace," em-
phasize their rebel status.
Silkwood has a simple and sometimes interesting
visual style. Most scenes are shot utilizing deep space
compositon: objects, as well as actors, arranged
systematically along lines of perspective, color con-
trasts, patterns and lighting lend to compositions
which are aesthetically pleasing and inviting. White,

for example, is associated with the antiseptic
uniforms of the workers, whereas black charac-
teristically represents Karen and suggests her
defiant nature.
In contrast to the overall languid pace, the rhythms
associated with the alarms of plutonium detection
are intense - if not brutal. When the siren blares,
breaking the silence, a hand-held camera swings sub-
jectively in circles mimicing Karen's buckling legs
as a montage of lights, running feet, and warning
signs foreshadow the inevitable contamination
sequence.
When the credits rolled across the screen I had
neither the interest to discover who was the respon-
sible director nor a desire to decide for myself
whether Karen was a victim of the corporation or
perhaps just another highway statistic. My lungs
however pleaded with me to quit smoking, haviil
witnessed Meryl Streep and Kurt Russell chaff
smoke for two hours. The movie seemed flat: tl
nuclear issue did not enthral me, nor were the groun-
ds of Karen's social disintigration terribly i4-
teresting. At the root of my dissatisfaction was Silt-
wood's technical side. The story is potentially vetr
interesting, but the presentation - the lack of visutj
experimentation by the cinematographer and direr
tor - undermines the film, whose cast portended-
blockbuster.

Join the
Daily
News Staff

Meryl Streep and Kurt Russel solemnly discuss plans in 'Silkwood.'

The great Sun Seals dazzles and
awes with masterfull blues

'witlCampus Marketing

Daily Classifieds
Bring Results

By Bill Orlove
F ROM HIS BEGINNINGS in his home
state of Arkansas, to clubs and
1festivals all over the globe, Son Seals
has proven to audiences that he is one of
the finest blues guitarists around. He
plays the blues like no one has done
!before.
PSeals, who will be performing with,
his band at Rick's American Cafe on
!riday and Saturday night, practically
gew up with the blues. His father, Jim
Vials, owned The Dipsy Doodle Club in
Osceola, Arkansas, which drew such
gTreat bluesmen as Sonny Boy William-
sOn and Albert King. The elder Seals
vas also a well-known musician and
played the piano, trombone, guitar, and
drums. With these advantages, Son
could not fail as a blues musician.
.Son was influenced by his father and
the bluesmen, that performed at his
father's club, but with all of these in-
spirations, he has tried to keep his own
style. "A lot of musicians had an in-
f uence on me, but I try to be myself
when I play the guitar," Son explained
ip a recent interview.
,At the age of eighteen, he led his own
band at a bar in Little Rock, Arkansas.
After that, he toured with the legendary
guitarist Earl Hooker and then with
Albert King. In 1971, Son moved to
Chicago and began to perform in the
city's numerous blues clubs. At times,

he would jam with such artists as
Junior Wells, Hound Dog Taylor,
James Cotton and Buddy Guy while
quickly building a praiseworthy
reputation. Both of his first two
albums, The Son Seals Band and Mid-
night Son, received high acclaim from
music critics and displayed his aspiring
talent as a performer and writer of
original blues material. With a couple
more albums released, countless tours
of the U.S., Europe, and other coun-
tries, and appearances with such
musicians as George Thorogood and
Clarence Clemmons, Son has demon-
strated his overwhelming skill and
mastery of the blues'style.
When asked about the future of blues

music, Son was not optimistic: "There
is definitely an audience out there, but
the music is being held back from them
by radio and television," he exclaimed.
"For example, there is a 24-hour music
program on the air (MTV), and I have
not seen any signs of them playing the
blues. The media is at fault here." But
he does feel that the blues will have
some kind of positive future as long as
some changes are made., "I just hope
that changes will come in the music in-
dustry to those musicians who are
struggling in the business. Blues
audiences are being robbed because
they don't get to hear these musicians
play."

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