Saw Sean Penn’s second oscar-awarded performance today. While Milk is nowhere near a perfect film, it’s certainly worth the price of admission to see the actors’ performances.
Milk shows the last decade of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician, whose career as a councilman in San Francisco was terminated with a gun in the late seventies (the story includes use of the term twinkie defense, so it can’t be all bad).
Sean Penn is nothing short of sensational in the lead role. A complex persona is portrayed with an awesome array of emotions. The rest of the cast is far less luminous. Josh Brolin puts in a tightly-reined take on Dan White, the colleague-turned-enemy of Milk.
The seventies’ San Francisco is realized well. The scenery looks appropriately old, and wide shots occasionally have a grainy look to them, a look that evokes 8mm home movies from yesteryear. Unlike a couple of recent movies that turned to rampant smoking to age the action, Milk uses a very limited amount of cigarettes.