Hello!!! HELLO!!! Come on, wake up now...Are you back with us?..Now be honest, it was rubbish wasn't it? Were you blinded by the glowing cast list like I was? Were you drawn in by the seductive 30's Louisiana setting? Yea, me too. Were you hypnotised by the dreamy score and the soft-focus delights of a dripping Kate and/or a sweating Jude almost getting it on? Me too, me too! But it WAS crap we just watched right?. I mean, I don't want to think that I am alone and that I was the only one to walk out of the cinema looking like Elijah Woods' wide-eyed brother on bad hair day. Please tell me that there are others out there in IMDb land who were also bamboozled for those two hours, or I'll run mad.
I expected a lot. A classic novel of depth and meaning, oodles of my favourite actors, an equally impressive off-screen team and 2 days off work. What more could one ask for? Suitably popcorned-up, I slid low in my seat as the lights dimmed ready for the giant hand of cinema magic to sweep me up and take me for a memorable ride. Unfortunately I think the hand swept me up and took me for a mug.
Strip away the glitz, the schmaltz and everything else ending in 'tz' and what a bad movie it really was. I mean, really...
What happened to Penn? In one frame he was an idealistic man of the people, in the next he made Nixon look like Mother Teresa. Where was the transition? Where was the depth? Why did he do the backstroke every time he made a speech? Why did Kate (looking good babe!) take this part? Her character was about as superficial and fluffy as...well, a superficial fluffy thing. It seems she was only there to add sexual promise and act as a bridge for one element of Penn's corruption to cross-over. Kate, if you read this, I still love you though and I really would marry you if you asked me. Honestly! And Jude. Yep, you look good too (not in any kind of sexual way Kate) but for how much longer will that be enough? Jude was the entire framework, the hub of the story and its narrator. Big job for little Jude I think. For an actor to carry this kind of role with conviction, he needs very strong on-screen presence...one thinks of Brando, Caine, Wells, Sandler (I put the last one in to see if you were still paying attention). Jude falls a long way short in this respect and consequently the foundation of believability was weakened as a result.
Tony, Tony, Tony, what can I say. You were one of my favourite actors once....what has happened to you? Remember Howard's End? Remains of the Day? I would watch a movie without reading the cover just because you were in it. Now, you seem only to choose smaller cameo roles where you seem constantly to try your best to look like Colonel Sanders. What a waste! Hopkin's character, Judge Irwin, was crucial to the climax of the movie, but it was ruined for me by the ease and convenient simplicity in which his corrupt past was unearthed. What rot! And finally, the big guy who looks like he should be in Goodfellas or The Sopranos...can't remember his name, sorry. What happened to him?? He transformed in the blink of an eye from a threatening, manipulative goon to a fawning lap-dog. Astonishingly disorienting.
I'm not entirely sure what I am trying to say with all of the above criticism about the movie as a whole, maybe because I am still dazed and confused by it's outward glamour. The best I can do to summarise is to say that this movie is lovely to look at, beguiling even, but underneath it is superficial, confusing and ultimately unfulfilling....not like you though, Kate.
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