You can go ahead and paste his name at the top of the list. The list of the best filmmaker never needed any update.
Charlie Chaplin is in his prime stage now. Now as in then when the film came out. And prime stage as in both, his narrative skills and performance. Today we’re not going to boast about the social and political satire and other changes that the film deals with. But the body language that takes place in this film. The importance of this universal language is something we all know and understand. And here it spews wonder like some winning rap in a rap battle does. And I don’t mean the obvious visual galore that is captured by camera tricks to serve the humor and wow factor. But I am talking about just Charlie’s control over his body.
He is insanely in command of his body. There is not a fumble, not a trip, not a wave that is accidental. Even when he is.. nay, especially when he is out of control, he is still dancing the dance of his life. And I say that for the images that he could not be in charge of. As in, he doesn’t just do his stunts or whatever you may like to call it, only once but does it frequently, does it fast, does it smooth.
Except for that dive in the shallow water, he is giving meticulous set pieces that are emotionally motivated, continuously. Now, coming back to the theme of Modern Times. I don’t want to use the term ahead of its time, but it is. And its maturity and philosophy is why it remains to be one of my favourite Charlie Chaplin adventures. The love story looks like an excuse, just as it should be. The sacrificial act isn’t actually sacrificial. To me, it was a proposal. A proposal to be a friend. A good hard working friend.