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Come and Go (2000)

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Powerful Beckett Hampered by Rather Lacklustre Direction
12 August 2006 | by (Australia) – See all my reviews

Many critics have argued that master surrealist Samuel Beckett's work should never be put on film, and with Come and Go its not hard to see why. The play is a stark, brutal examination, of what can fester under the surface over time. The basic premise centres around a group of three women, all of whom are meeting up again after a few years of absence. As the play progresses, they all reveal a horrible secret about each other, leading the audience to believe that maybe there's something hiding under the surface, something terrible that we can't quite make out...

A lot can be drawn from Beckett's work and that's what marks him out as a wonderful stylist. Interpretations of his plays are open and can be read as one sees appropriate. I for one, think that Come and Go is a fable about how we lie to each other, and even ourselves. The meeting initially seems perfect but sooner or later we see the cracks emerge and this is really where the play becomes more universal. Its an exploration of all of our lives: how we all want to pretend everything is perfect, when really we're rotting away under the surface...

But now I better get to the crux of the matter: this film version really isn't that good. The direction is quite poor. Although there are some nice touches (characters eyes are obscured by their over-sized hats) the director makes a fatal mistake: the camera moves far too often. Although this sounds quite simple, it is a fatal flaw. By zooming and panning and dollying we are immediately reminded that we are watching a film, and thus are removed from the work.

This is very unfortunate. It would have been nice to see a better director handle the piece in a more interesting way. Maybe we could have had an exceptional film.

However it would take someone like Michael Bay to mess up such a wonderful script to the point of it being a truly awful cinematic experience. At the moment we're left with a wasted opportunity: a film that could have been exceptional but is simply average.

Shame, isn't it?


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