Saturday, June 14, 2014
Written & Directed By: Mike Leigh
Cinematography By: Dick Pope
Editor: Jon Gregory
Cast: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Ewan Bremmer, Greg Cruttwell, Peter Wight, Claire Skinner
Johnny flees Manchester for London, to avoid a beating from the family of a girl he has raped. There he finds an old girlfriend, and spends some time homeless, spending much of his time ranting at strangers, and meeting characters in plights very much like his own.
Mike Leigh films are a acquired taste. They are commonly slow moving. Not that much actually happens action wise.
This film puts a particular Ike character on display and tries him into the world after what have seen him do a horrible act. Which is out introduction to him and just has him wonder around like a nomad for the rest of the film. He just shows up like a shark already to bite and devour on his weapon that is dangerous is his mouth and the words that come out non-stop. It is also very hard to feel sorry for a protagonist who is a rapist.
We never learn what makes him tick or his reasons for his various venomous actions and attacks. We know he is opinionated and has a throat for knowledge. He is very confrontational, but one minute he says he believes one thing then contradicts himself the next.
This film is virtually a one man show for actor David Thewlis, though there are plenty of characters. This is a brilliant performance that out him on the map and unfortunately has never really been given a role as rich or with as much magnitude. The film could almost be a one man show as most of the film is Thewlis and his interactions with various random people. Each a little more strange than himself.
I enjoyed how dark and bleak his film is, the lead never changes and strangely feels iconic for the literary set. You think like most films that eventually he will change somewhat from the person he was at the beginning of the film to an enlightened character by the end. That is what you would like to think happens, but since we never really get to know the character. Who is In virtually almost every scene. He is like a ghost who haunts every scene even the few he isn't in.
He initially is mesmerizing and sets the screen on fire though after awhile he gets familiar, then finds way to ingratiate himself right back to you in the audience.
This film has anther hate filled Character played by Gregg Cruttwell who is just as mysterious. Though not as iconic who often times makes you wonder why he is in this film and around these characters. Who he is obviously different from class wise. He is another shark who you think will eventually collide with Johnny in to catastrophe and Violence. Though it does make you question whether the other characters are just used to these cruel people though they act shocked once johnny comes around at firsts or do they attract these Characters by appearing weak willed and they are like chum I t he water to these sharks.
The film even seems to build one run for their meeting. Which unfortunately never happens in he way you hope. The script was largely created by improvisation during 11 weeks of rehearsal before shooting. The script was only 25 pages long.
Though good the film was a slight bit of a letdown as it has been built up over the years to this grand reputation it never really would have had a chance to fulfill for me considering all the hype. It is still a one of a kind unforgettable film. That feel more at home as a theatrical work more then an actual film