This is a very strange movie. Director István Szabó was responsible for the sublime Meeting Venus but also the interminable Sunshine, so I didn't know what to expect. I was pleasantly surprised. Annette Bening plays Julia Lambert, an aging actress who feels that she is missing the artistic drive she once had, so she starts an affair with a young star-struck American played by Shaun Evans (who does an amazing American accent). Her devoted husband, the company director, is played by Jeremy Irons, and Juliet Stevenson plays her maid/dresser. Miriam Margolyes, Lucy Punch and Bruce Greenwood also appear in creditable performances (Margolyes is particularly funny). While the film is clearly Bening's, Michael Gambon walks away with every scene he's in. He plays her mentor Jimmie Langton, a man long dead but who lives on in her head, dispensing advice on acting to her that reflects the situation in her life.
The tone of the film is an odd combination of comedy and drama, and commands attention despite the sometimes very silly actions of the characters. Julia herself makes some dumb decisions, and has to pay for them, but when she positions herself for an upper hand, what an upper hand it is. I ended up enjoying this film. It is no classic-to-be, but it was entertaining.
The film features sunny photography by Lajos Koltai and a sumptuous Mychael Danna score. It's certainly not for everyone, but it was immensely satisfying in its own way. The DVD features a commentary track with Szabó, Bening and Irons. Since the film is so much about acting, there is quite a lot of reflection on the craft of performance; Bening and Irons talk extensively about how different film and stage acting are, and how difficult moving from one to the other can be. The commentary is certainly worth a listen despite long gaps between comments because of the worthy insights that one can gain from the participants.
Redefining the term "moral vacuum" for a new generation, Robert Rodriguez's adaptation of Frank Miller's iconic work is a bizarre hybrid of film noir and graphic novel. Along with the visual palette, which is primarily black and white with occasional and alarming spots of color, there is the super hard-boiled Miller voice-overs. The appearance of the film is so highly stylized that the performances have to be over the top to match, and the cast delivers.
This is a very grisly film, consisting almost entirely of violence and sex, so much so that even Raz was turned off by the brutality of the film (which may be one of the signs of the apocalypse, just so you know). It is no less graphic than Kill Bill Volume 1, but there are some really uncomfortably squicky things that show up in the movie. I found the stylization to work well with the violence.
I enjoyed the film very much, but I'm not sure how it will hold up under repeated viewings. There is no way to really take it too seriously, and it doesn't take itself too seriously, something which seriously marred Rodriguez's previous film, Once Upon A Time In Mexico, but it is so euphorically unique that it commands a certain respect. It certainly feeds those areas of the human psyche that we don't like to admit need feeding.
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| Ki-lin |
You scored 50% Esotericism, 10% Power, and 14% Malevolence!
A mythical being of Chinese mythology, comparable with the Western
unicorn. Ki-lin personifies all that is good, pure, and peaceful. It
lives in paradise and only visits the world at the birth of a wise
philosopher. The unicorn, which can become one thousand years old, is
portrayed as a deer with one horn, the tail of an ox, the hooves of a
horse, and a body covered with the scales of a fish. It is one of the
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|Link: The Mythological Profile Test written by LacedWithASmile on Ok Cupid|