Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Should I joke?

I went to see a movie last night with my surprisingly (and quite frighteningly) enlightened partner - and came out (unfortunate word usage) slightly stunned! However, I shall do my best to review it - or at least write down my initial feelings on the subject. As you can see, I have resisted the urge to call the movie 'A Homo at the End of the World'. Ok, not so must resist the urge as completely give in.....damn it! Here's what I thought, anyway!

A Home at the End of the World

Director: Michael Mayer
Writer: Michael Cunningham (Novel & Screenplay)
Starring: Colin Farrell, Robin Wright Penn, Sissy Spacek, Dallas Roberts

Considering I had been largely oblivious to this movie’s production, it is no surprise (to anyone else) that the content completely blind-sided me. I was in no way prepared for the story that followed, having only seen one advert – which, sadly, made the movie look more like a TV3 ‘triumph over adversity’ story of friendship than the quite serious drama it actually is. I still have my reservations, strongly built upon this first impression – any movie where two characters sing a song together whilst driving in a pick-up tends to make me squirm…ooh, la fromage!

However, despite the many insultingly lame moments, the actual structure was shocking and realistic. The actors have the credit of displaying some of the finest skills I’ve seen this side of ‘Eternal Sunshine…’, amply filling their characters shoes – Colin Farrell in particular making me proud to be Irish, just for the sake of saying he’s ‘ours’. I mention ‘Eternal Sunshine’ because Jim Carrey is ostensibly the ‘star’ pulling-power of that movie, as is Colin Farrell for ‘A Home at the End of the World’, yet both maintain their own thunder, stealing none from their co-stars. They both underplay marvellously, and are so generous with their screen time that it really does not seem like their movie at all, but in each case gives the audience a true ensemble piece worthy of the story. They allow more time for other characters to evolve and become something more substantial than story fillers – a selflessness that is sadly lacking in many star vehicles. Moreover, the screenplay – which stands just the right side of pretentious – manages to reel you in, weaving Bobby’s magical influence around you, so that everything that happens in his life, and everything he feels, is transmitted directly to you via Colin Farrell’s remarkable talent.

The reason that I found it somewhat uncomfortable to watch was, of course, the homosexual storyline. It’s not that I find anything offensive about a movie that shows this life that I cannot fathom, but the fact is I was not prepared for it. I am not usually one to use trailers as my basis for a movie, but unfortunately that did happen to me here. I came into the show expecting a simple, albeit well told, tale about Colin Farrell and Robin Wright Penn, and was rather taken aback by the turn the story took. However, there is nothing gratuitous in this entire movie – the romance is dealt with by dint of such patience and timing, that it is truly hard to see it as anything other than love. All actors involved give this tough and dramatic tale a human edge sadly lacking in the writers previous outing, ‘The Hours’ – even though, I must say, I haven’t thought much about it or its ‘issues’ since. There was an element of the rushed about it – too much story to cram into under two hours of footage – so some scenes skipped by, belying their importance, and others dwelt too long on the unimpressive. My biggest quibble would be the fact that there is always a punishment for anyone in Hollywood movies that venture outside the norm. Without giving too much away, everyone who does anything ‘bad’ in this movie – homosexuality, drugs, promiscuity, etc. – ends up ‘paying for it’ in some way or another. Not the most powerful of movies to tell a tale that has become slightly hackneyed at this stage, but it has some shining moments of redemption. However, it remains for me a forgettable drama, though eloquently told.

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