This movie is a mess.
Seriously. It is an ugly looking, confusingly paced, poorly acted thing that follows a script which lurches drunkenly between the incomprehensible and the banal. It is confused and focusless, any scene with more than a couple of characters turns into an exercise in geographic confusion, something of an achievement considering how small and empty so many of these locations are. It has the worst budget CGI sequences, which usually are excusable in indie films (the folks don’t have much money) but here they are disasterously conceived and feel so unneccessary. And, while I appreciate its intention in being a tonally diverse genre mashup, it does not have a strong enough control of either tone or genre to ever feel like a cohesive whole.
I haven’t written at all this week. I’m trash, I know. I got that review of Beast published but that was a product of sheer laziness over the four days the document sat gathering dust on my desktop. It’s not like I’ve even been doing anything near productive with my time. I haven’t been liking myself too much, been being unhealthy, listening to music that helps me feel sorry for myself, getting pissed and reading Shakespeare monologues at midnight.
You know when you’ve spent a couple of hours writing something and you’re pretty pleased with how it’s going and then your computer crashes and you lost the 800 or so words worth of work that you just spent your time on? Yeah, that happened when I was writing my review of Beast. I know, I should write in wordpress directly or at least some program with autosave but I like writing in notepad. It’s free of distractions and versatile when you wanna shift your thoughts around a blank page.
It’s not Mothers’ Day over here in the UK, we get that outta the way back in March. It’s always a notable time of year here because all of a sudden all of the podcast hosts turn to hawking flowers and chocolates and I always turn to the calendar paranoid. Hell, at least in the run up they might actually be advertising something that could be useful to somebody.
So, the first time we see Marx and Engels meet in The Young Karl Marx, Raoul Peck has to two of them sitting at far ends of this elaborate drawing room. Marx is trying to demand payment for his last two essays from his publisher, Engels is arrived to the man’s house as his patrician guest. The publisher blusters between the two of them trying to keep face with a friend while dismissing his employee. The two seated scholars don’t pay him all that much attention. They’ve only eyes for each other.
I guess after 45 Years Andrew Haigh could pretty much take on any project that he liked. It seems fitting that he’d reach for a story taking place at the other end of life. Of all the ages that the young protagonist of Lean on Pete gives the youngest is fifteen. I think that’s the one that we’re supposed to believe, it’s the one that he gives when he has the least to prove, when the cruelties of the world have finally ground him down enough to be honest with those around him. I guess it is just a reminder that pain can be keenly felt whatever age you are.
The twist at the end of Tully comes pretty much as expected for anyone familiar with Diablo Cody’s body of work, it plays right her preoccupations as a creator. You know how people enjoy dismissing artists work by pointing out the themes that they enjoy exploring, reciting the trivia list of their IMDb page as though that amounts to substantive criticism. Whatever, Cody’s writing has always been intergenerational, the interesting part of her evolution is in where she chooses to lay the focus.