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Patrick J. Adams,
Another Crisp and Controversial Film from the Gifterd Sally Potter
Sally Potter takes chances. There are so many unique aspects of this film that reviewing it is difficult. The major aspects of the film include the very au courant 'rage' of blogging as a means of communication, the 'rage' to stay young and in fashion (that almost daily changing series of fads of what is in and what is out), the 'rage' of focusing everyone's attention on celebrity antics including drugs and death, the 'rage' to buy everything (if you don't own it and it looks like it is going to be popular then buy it), the 'rage' of climbing into the media world, be it film, fashion, television searching for that promised 15 minutes of fame, the 'rage' of PR, minding the selling promotion of a product without concern of its value, the 'rage' of creating new fragrances with a special name for fame, and the 'rage' for maintaining a wealthy or famous class and a poor or service class. Potter manages to take us through all of these phases with brilliant writing, fascinating character studies, experimental lighting and photography, and one of the best uses of color fields ever on film.
The premise is simple yet strong. A blogger named Michelangelo follows the backstage proceedings of a New York Fashion Show: we never see him, we see only his daily blog entry and the images of the interviewees through his cellphone camera - the individuals all are part of the hyped fashion show cum ramp walk of fashionista Merlin (Simon Abkarian) who designed the clothes, Miss Roth (Dianne Wiest) who owns the company, Mona Carvell (Judi Dench) the fashion critic who writes for the media coverage, Otto (Jakob Cedergren) who works managing PR, Mr. White (Bob Balaban) who directs the show until he is replaced by the overeducated image builder Dwight Angel (Patrick J. Adams), Frank (Steve Buscemi) a hard nosed photographer who has spent better time on the war fronts in the Middle East taking 'meaningful pictures', financier Tiny Diamonds (Eddie Izzard) who buys everything he wants including his bodyguard Jed (John Leguizamo), models Minx (Jude Law in drag) and Lettuce Leaf (Lily Cole), pizza delivery boy transformed in to model Vijay (Riz Ahmed), and Anita de Los Angeles (Adriana Barraza) the seamstress who simply wants to remain invisible. Two deaths occur - one car accident and one shooting - and that brings in Detective Homer (David Oyelowo) who investigates while displaying his own brand of Shakespeare to the blogger's cellphone camera.
All of this complex story happens in the form of interviews - each star is dressed in well designed clothes and each poses in front of various colored screens. The ending of the interview brings the whole experience together. Potter's immaculate and imaginative script gives each one of these gifted actors room to shine in a one person act. It just simply works and never for a moment does it become dull. Sally Potter gave us 'Orlando', 'Yes', 'The Man Who Cried', and 'The Tango Lesson'. She is one of the most imaginative and skilled writer/director units in the business.
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