Gus Van Sant who previously directed a little movie called Good Will Hunting delivers his best film since the 1997 Oscar winner. He paces the movie very well and mixes in a lot of actual news archive footage. One scene in particular that stands out is a shot of Milk talking to police officers after a gay man is beaten in the streets. The entire scene is shot as a reflection in a chrome whistle that lays on the ground. Gay men in that era used to wear whistles to alert each other of harassing or potentially dangerous situations. At the end of the scene, Milk picks up the whistle and we see him in front of the camera without a cut. Van Sant, Danny Boyle and David Fincher gave three amazing turns in the director's chair this past year. Equally as good as the directing was the casting in the movie. At the end of the film you see video clips of the actual people who were portrayed by the actors in the movie. Each one bears a striking resemblance to the actor that played them (especially Josh Brolin and Emile Hirsch). Spot-on casting like this adds to the overall authenticity of the film. The only performance I found to be flawed was Diego Luna's portrayal of Jack Lira (Milk's lover during the second half of the movie). Luna was just a little too annoying and I did not find myself investing any interest in that character.
Stay tuned for my review of The Reader which we plan on seeing tomorrow night to round out my viewing of the five Best Picture nominees. Just in time for the Oscars on Sunday night.