Saturday, July 19, 2014
BEING FLYNN (2012)
Written & Directed By: Paul Weitz
Based on the Book “Another Bullshit Nigh In Suck City” By: Nick Flynn
Cinematography By: Declan Quinn
Editor: Joan Sobel
Cast: Robert DeNiro, Paul Dano, Olivia Thrilby, Julianne Moore, Wes Studi, Eddie Rouse, Victor Rasuk, Lili Taylor, Thomas Middleditch, Billy Wirth, William Sadler, Samira Wiley
Nick Flynn, in his 20s, hasn't found his place in the world yet, but hopes to be a writer. Around the time he takes a job at a homeless shelter in Boston, his father, Jonathan, who considers himself a great writer and who hasn't see Nick in years, abruptly makes fleeting contact. A few months later, the down-and-out Jonathan shows up at Nick's shelter and becomes a resident. This disorients Nick; he doesn't handle it well, compounded by Jonathan's belligerent behavior. Nick's memories of his mother, his budding relationship with a co-worker, and his own demons make things worse. Can anything improve? Is he his father's son?
Original title of the film was "Another Bullshit Night in Suck City", the title of the memoir the film is adapted from.
I can see why this material would seem to be perfectly adapted for the screen. The only problem is that we have seen tales like this so often it doesn't feel like anything new.
Also the fact that such hard hitting material seems to be lightened to a degree that makes it come off as just a bunch of quirks feels misguided.
I has it moments and points Though seems to want to avoid those hard hitting emotional moments or at least wait to present them and once they do. Try to make it as different as they can.
Robert DeNiro plays his role as charming and actually really hits some points about his Character though unlikeable. He has a demeanor that makes you at least admire him to a certain degree though he has his problems. Though it is mildly amusing to see him as a taxi driver once again.
Paul Dano hits the emotional moments his character needs and though a good actor I constantly feel his character was so passive as to not react that it got to be bothersome. I understand that all his emotions staying bottled up is what eventually leads him to use alcohol ad substances to numb himself and not deal with his own problems, but it seems like it is only done as the script wants him to, not as organic or through the character.
At least the film does have a message of some kind of hope and survival. Especially showing the plight of homelessness. And presents the homeless gods and bad. As more then caricatures. More like human beings.
When it comes tithe films of Paul Weitz. He is an actual decent director. It just seems like he takes small human stories and gives them a certain gloss that makes them never feel real or truthful and also never seems to connect with audiences. Though they are actually ok. He is also a director who I give credit for following his own interests. He goes across many genres though seems connected to either drama or comedy usually dramatic comedies that are smart and have something to say. He is also a noted playwright.
I will admit that I am a fan for a father-son relationship or bonding film. As there seems to be less and less of them. The last truly noteworthy one was FREQUENCY.
It's not a bad film. It just feels so familiar that it doesn't come off as individual. Though it is unorthodox it still feels like a basic drama. If this film had been made in the 80's or maybe even the 90's it might have been noteworthy as something different. Though now in modern cinema it feels so familiar that it doesn't come off as special. Even though based on a true story and book.