Monday, 16 March 2009


Up to Kilburn to the Tricycle cinema to finally catch Sean Penn's incredible Oscar winning performance in Milk. It's a wonderfully compassionate movie about the life and assassination of community activist Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected politician in the USA.

The work is an important tribute to a movement that prior to this biopic has mostly been defined by Stonewall. Much of the struggle for gay rights has moved forward, but occasionally the arguments prohibiting gays from certain jobs - as primary school teachers, in the military etc. rear there ugly heads and for that reason the film is a reminder of the need to be vigilant against any reactionary force that portrays homosexuality as a threat, rather than a compliment, to family values.

Penn is surely one of the most effecting screen actors of his generation and his intelligence, sensitivity and humanity comes through at every moment. For a man who's built his reputation playing alpha males this a fantastic choice of role and his masterful execution of both the public bravery and the private integrity of Milk makes for a moving couple of hours, but the real achievment is that Penn and director Gus Van Sant manage to stay on the side of metaphor rather than martyrdom, enabling a whole movement to seen through a single psychology.

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