Like most people in the modern world, time is a luxury that I don't seem to have much of these days but today as I write this I am sitting in a doctor's waiting room, a place where time stands still, moving at a glacial pace that turns that boringly bland room that has an overflowing table full of magazines called Now and VIP that I can't read without my eyes bleeding into a kind of vortex, wherein time is merely a construct that has been abandoned in favour of endless waiting and information about celebrities I have never heard of who have split up with other people I have never heard of.
Time moving at a glacial pace will be a familiar feeling also to anyone else who has tried to sit through this week's first film for review.
Love is the new film from the chief agent provocateur of European Cinema/ World Cinema, Gaspar Noe.
Noe has for some time now been at the forefront of all that is challenging and extreme about World Cinema since he burst onto the scene in the 1990's with his ultra controversial Seul Contre Tous; a film about a pretty detestable man and his pretty detestable behaviour on gaining freedom from prison.
He followed this film with the infamous Irreversible, which is one of the most difficult films you could wish to sit through. Concerned with time and the passing thereof, the film takes it's cue from Schopenhauer and his line: Time destroys all things. The film plays out in reverse, starting at the end of the film and moving backwards. We see the attempts of a desperate man as he tries to gain revenge for the brutal rape of his partner. The film has been accused of casual homophobia and misogyny but it is true while it is an extremely upsetting and difficult film to watch it is also very effective in what it tries to do and sometimes cinema is closer to the Marquis de Sade than Mickey Mouse for good reason.
Noes new film Love, is the first (effectively) mainstream film that one could safely call a porn movie or one that incorporates the tropes of porn into mainstream cinema. Also it's in 3D.
Film Title: Love
Director: Gaspar Noé
Starring: Karl Glusman, Aomi Muyock, Klara Kristin, Juan Saavedra, Aron Pages, Vincent Maraval
Running Time: 135 min
The film concerns itself with an American man called Murphy (Karl Glusman) who is perpetually feeling sorry for himself and his broken heart. Murphy is insufferable, a boring, pretentious, selfish jackass and his constant whining presence in the film makes it's already too long running time seem even longer. At the beginning of the film we see him receive a phone call concerning a former love of his (whom he still pines for), he learns that she has possibly taken her own life and the rest of the film pours over their failed relationship in order to tell us something about relationships. Deep and boring stuff.
This is a film made by a consummate stylist of the moving image but as usual there is a definite whiff of all style no substance hanging over the entire film. Noe has always seemed to me to be like a Peter Pan character. He is the perpetual teenager waging perpetual war on the bourgeois classes which created him and it's getting tiring.
Watching people, no matter how beautiful they may be, make love, over and over, in groups, in couples, in the bath, in the shed, in the shop, really gets old after the first ten minutes.
The cinematography by his regular collaborator, Benoît Debie, is unusually measured compared to their previous frenetic work together, the film looks beautiful, with vibrant set design and an enveloping soundscape which sucks in the viewer.
The largely improvised script and the non professional cast feel leaden and the whole exercise ends up seeming at best an attempt to shock and at worst a very expensive waste of time. When it boils down to is a very fancy blue movie that it’s always willing to shock director really is desperate for it to seem important but there is nothing more going on here than Mills and Boon fantasising from a man who just won’t grow up. Unusual cinema and unusually boring cinema at that.
2 out of 5
Far superior is this week's recommended film Being AP from the director Anthony Wonke, a biographical film about the famous jockey Tony “AP” McCoy.
Documenting the later part of his career as a champion horse jockey, Being AP is much more than a sports film and will be of interest to anyone regardless of their opinion of horse racing.
In the film McCoy is struggling with the idea of looming retirement, in an opening scene we see him so disgusted by the very idea that he is unable to finish his lunch. McCoy has given Wonke the one thing documentarians need: Access. We see intimates moments of private lives, McCoy and his wife Chanelle argue over his reluctance to hang his boots up, her eye rolling responses to her at times taciturn husband is leavened by McCoys great talent for gallows humour, which he adorns nearly every scene in the film with. Doctors grimace and shake their heads as they look at x rays and medical reports on the devastating injuries McCoy has accumulated over his career.
The film utilises three different cinematographers Tom Elliott, Neil Harvey, and Andrew Thompson and it looks fantastic. This is a powerful, moving film about the inevitable we all must face, not just award winning athletes; as McCoy himself states at one point: “Pain is temporary, losing is permanent, this is a remarkable portrayal of a remarkable man. Must see cinema, so go now before it's gone.
Also in cinemas this week:
Spectre: I may have been a little hard on this last week but that's life, I doubt the producers mind. Solid if a little tired, Bond fans will love it and that's all that matters really.
2 out of 5
Steve Jobs: A pretty special and surprising film about the man who would be king of the world Steve Jobs. Charting his life by focusing on the product launches that would come to be his legacy and allowing enough space for the film to be far more than just a biography of a famous person, this is another sparkling screenplay from Aaron Sorkin and director Danny Boyle's best film in a long long time.
4 out 0f 5