101-year-old Rose DeWitt Bukater tells her grandchildren the story of her ill-fated romance with penniless artist, Jack Dawson. Whom she met on the maiden voyage of the similarly fated ship, the Titanic.
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Titanic is blatant in trying to position itself in a grand tradition of big cinema. Cameron’s showmanship often wields tremendous visual acuity, right from the stunning opening shot of submersibles sinking through the endlessly black sea, describing documentary detail and yet immediately introducing a note of eerie, numinous adventure, penetrating the sunken graveyard of memory and eras past.
For all the hokeyness, Titanic kept me absorbed all 194 minutes both times I saw it. It’s nervy as well as limited for writer-director-coproducer James Cameron to reduce a historical event of this weight to a single invented love story, however touching, and then to invest that love story with plot details that range from unlikely to downright stupid. But one clear advantage of paring away the subplots that clog up disaster movies is that it allows one to achieve a certain elemental purity.