Friday, January 8, 2010

Film #3 of 2010

Year: 2009

Richard Roeper places this at #4 of his best of 2009; I wouldn't rank it nearly that high. Though I did think this was really well-made there wasn't enough new or intriguing by which to be blown away.

After catching The Lookout last year I was curious to see what else Joseph Gordon-Levitt would do. He was terrific in The Lookout and is equally excellent -- and quite different -- here.

The film's non-linear storytelling is artfully employed to make genuine emotional observations about the characters, by juxtaposing events/reactions we otherwise probably wouldn't place side by side. Outside of this neat device, though, and the accomplished naturalistic tone, there were no additional knock-out elements to raise the picture outside of its somewhat complacent alterna-non-complacency. Mychael Danna delivered another fine score in 2009 with this outing (though it still doesn't come close to his 2008 work for Egoyan's Adoration). I certainly prefer his score to the song compilation, sure to be a hit.

And, whereas Roeper loved the ending, I thought it was too pat. The final scene at the job interview just didn't seem convincing -- sure, people flirt etc. but the lines of dialog seemed, at least to me, too much of an out-of-character-voice commentary on the "lessons of life" conveyed through Tom's experiences, rather than an honest exchange. The intermittent narration also felt a little unnecessary, and it was mildly distracting in that it reminded me of the voice-overs in Pushing Daisies.

So, a very strong film in a genre I usually avoid; but it will probably only stay with me for, oh I dunno, about 500 days.

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