Friday, April 13, 2007

"Is This It?" Carmalla Asks

I'm going to miss The Sopranos something fierce when they close up shop in June. Cathy and I caught the first episode of its final run (Soprano Home Movies, the 78th episode...long may it live in syndication!) last night and among the myriad of things to love about it was its idyllic lake house setting in the Adirondacks. Its director, Tim Van Patten (he's directed 16 episodes of the Sopranos run) was particularly good at challenging the cozy cottage setting (there's even one of those vintage wooden Chris-Craft boats) with camera angles that were intensely ominous. The camera repeatedly cut from intimate close-ups of the characters (Tony and Bobby out fishing, and especially throughout the drunken, fisticuffs inducing Monopoly game scene) to angles that gave the appearance, intentionally, I thought, of the characters being unknowingly observed, perhaps being stalked or under surveillance. I was certain something awful and shattering was going to happen, the final narrative impetus set terribly into motion. I actually cowered behind a throw pillow because I thought Carmella was going to get shot by one of Phil Leotardo's guys. Or something equally outrageous. But it didn't happen, I realized, because David Chase would never capitulate to something so hackneyed.

The only thing I know, or so it's being said, is that it all ends in an ice cream parlor in New Jersey.

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