Saturday, May 26, 2018
WONDER WHEEL (2017)
Written & Directed By: Woody Allen
Cinematography By: Vittorio Storaro
Editor: Alisa Lepselte
Cast: Kate Winslet, Justin Timberlake, Jim Belushi, Juno Temple, Tony Sirico, Steven R. Schirripa, Max Casella, Debi Mazar, Tom Guiry, Bobby Slayton, Maddie Corman, David Krumholtz
In the hustle and bustle of 1950s Coney Island, where the buzzing crowd comes and goes trudging slowly over the wooden boardwalks, silent stories of the everyday toilers who give life to the attraction unfold. Somewhere in a clam bar, there's the sad waitress Ginny, a one-time actress and now a suffering wife who's been given a second chance by the side of the well-intentioned but uncouth carousel operator, Humpty. On the other hand, there's Humpty's 26-year-old estranged daughter, Carolina, who left the familial nest and a preordained future seeking adventure as a mobster's wife; only to return home with her wings broken, begging for forgiveness. And from the lifeguard's high tower, where all is in plain sight, the young and charming lifesaver and hopeful playwright, Mickey, is the inadvertent but potent catalyst that binds everything together. Shattered dreams, reckless love and betrayal, all under the bright lights of Coney Island.
This is a film that feels familiar coming from Woody Allen and feels like it only would come from him. As no one in particular would quite want to tell this story. as it is overly familiar and is overwrought with melodrama. Though even if they did might get away with it by calling it inspired. Another film in his canon that reminds you of when his films used to be so good. Now his record seems more hit and miss.
That might bring to mind his past film BLUE JASMINE as similarly it feels heavily inspired by stories we have read or seen before only this time presented in the past, but still having a character who makes a moral decision and has to live with the consequences. Where as in BLUE JASMINE it was more of a surprise. That came after a build up, From early on in this film you can tell it’s coming.
This film can also join IRRATIONAL MAN as another film that plays more on moral quandary. the film carries an air of tragedy straight from beginning. Where it opens with a nostalgic look at Coney Island. As the film seeks to expose not only the hard living but quite often the tragedy and unrelenting nature of drama behind the beautiful facade.
The film feels too staged and theatrical. As everyone feels like they are trying to outdo one another and stick to the script. So much so that nothing feels real or natural. After a while this film starts to feel monotonous
The film is a drama that becomes a love triangle that never gains any real heat or interest it seems more matter of fact.
The film seems more tinged in nostalgia for a safer time rife with hidden dangers. As it plays more to the audience, but nothing special is achieved. Even for all the abundant colors throughout the film practically burning through filters. The film still feels bland. As it feels like one note that keeps playing continuously over and over.
Even the scenes dealing with the son character his behavioral problems keep coming up and it’s kind of obvious he is acting out due to what he see’s at home between the couple and it’s also clear that he might have inherited them from his mother played by Kate Winslet whose character obviously has issues.
Out of the performances I must say this is one of the first times Juno Temple has played a true innocent adult and ends up being the most likable and decent character. Most of the actors seem to overplay their roles which makes some performances come off more as amatuerish or like they are trying too hard to sell something.
Jim Belushi while giving a good performance he seems typecast and could play this type of role in his sleep. Only here he is asked to be more dramatic.
When it comes to Kate Winslet the star of the movie. It’s obvious why she would choose this role. As it is written so grandly but more in a classic way. Even though unfortunately it doesn’t really amount to much. As over the years we have seen her play so many characters and better. Here it just seems like a retread. Only we get to see the other woman in an affairs point of view.
While Justin Timberlake has the looks. His delivery leaves much to be desired. As a self tortured intellectual dramatist as well as life guard. He seems to be the Woody Allen surrogate here. He comes off the weakest cast member and seems there more for name and box office star power then talent.