Reviews written by registered user
|5 reviews in total|
Agnes Jaoui's films 'Le Gout des autres' and 'Comme une image' are among my favourites of contemporary French cinema. They're smart, well-written, understated comedies that get right under the skin of middle class relationships and neuroses. As such, this, her latest, is an enormous disappointment. The humour is forced and the characters are under-drawn - what is a relatively short movie felt very long indeed. The subtlety of Jaoui's previous films was completely missing - it's as if she's aiming for a much broader audience. Fatally, almost all of the characters are completely unsympathetic - the one exception is an old North African woman played by Mimouna Hadji. I really couldn't care less about these people, their failing relationships or their political ambitions because they just didn't ring true. I suspect that this is a film that will find a limited audience outside France.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This new adaptation of Forster's classic seems bizarrely beholden to
Merchant Ivory's more successful film. Unfortunately it has little new
to add (and at that, only something spurious) and, indeed, steals much
from the film - including things that weren't even in the novel.
Like Merchant Ivory, this adaptation plays up the heady romance, but lacks that film's moments of rapture. Writer Andrew Davies' decision to tell the story in flashback was bizarre and unnecessary - adding narrative twists that really did not help the drama in any way.
Performances were largely disappointing. However, Elaine Cassidy breathed real life into Lucy Honeychurch. On the other hand, Sophie Thompson and Sinead Cussack both chose to base their characters on the performances given by Maggie Smith and Judi Dench in the film. As such they came off as poor imitations. Other performances were underwhelming, particularly the usually great Laurence Fox who both underplayed and seemed wholly unable to convince as an upper class Edwardian.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I went to The Darjeeling Limited with reasonably high expectations
having enjoyed Anderson's earlier films and given that my family were
originally from Gujerat (not far from the film's locations in
Rajasthan). However, I found it to be largely crass, laboured and
insensitive. It's the kind of film that Americans who have never been
to India might enjoy, but for anyone who loves and knows the country
it's quite another matter.
It's hard to warm to any of the characters - they are a series of quirks rather than real people (eg Jason Schwartzman doesn't wear shoes, for some unfathomable reason). In particular, it's not so great to watch bland, unlikeable Americans going to India to 'find' themselves when the film is so uninterested itself in India. Here it is nothing more than a colourful backdrop. Anderson clearly cares for it so little that a scene supposedly taking place in the foothills of the Himalayas was clearly shot in Rajasthan. For those of you who haven't been, the foothills are about as dissimilar from Rajasthan as Montana is from New York. They are a world apart.
The film is laden down with some of the worst metaphors that I have seen in a supposedly 'intelligent' film. When the three brothers finally discover the real meaning of life, they literally abandon their baggage - they dump it on the station platform! It's a long time since I've seen something as laboured as this.
This film is cultural appropriation of the worst sort.
What a self-indulgent mess! Duncan Roy's film is apparently
autobiographical, however it's impossible to find any glimmer of
emotional truth in this chaotic, badly acted and woefully amateurish
In a way, you have to admire the balls of a man who through grim determination and a very generous benefactor manages to make a film about his own rise and fall - from abused, working class lad to criminal English lord. However, the tone is either so self-pitying or so arch, that it's impossible to engage with either characters or plot. The raw material is potentially great stuff, however Roy seems unable to tease out the kind of tale that should grab you by the throat, then move you to tears. And it's a complete mystery why it was ever made to be screened as a triptych of images - presumably because a single image would have been too tedious to watch.
It's also interesting to see so many otherwise good actors - Bill Nighy, Diana Quick, Lindsay Coulson - giving career-worst performances.
Bland and anodyne. Nowhere in Africa is exactly the kind of film that receives Academy Awards. Caroline Link manages to make a potentially fascinating tale wholly bloodless. Characters seem neutered. Worst of all, despite all the lushness of the cinematography, the film fails to convince in its period setting - both dialog and behavior are anachronistic. I'd rather listen to Meryl Streep droning on in faux Danish about her Haus in Afrika. A missed opportunity.