Wednesday, January 20, 2010

I Isherwouldn't see this again

(not an actual still from A Single Man)

I didn't dislike A Single Man so much as I felt cold (or, in Tom Ford's visual language, desaturated) towards it. Ford's use of color saturation to indicate mood was obvious to the point of bludgeoning, but not unpleasant to look at and not completely disagreeable as a visual idea. And the movie's obsession with beauty actually seemed about right as far as reflecting the obsessions of its aging main character (no idea if anything here "accurately" reflected Christopher Isherwood's novel). Still, and despite Colin Firth's very interesting performance, I couldn't bring myself to feel emotionally affected by the film (a film about a suicidal English Professor who has lost the love of his life, btw).

The biggest failure of the movie was for me the scene between Colin Firth and Julianne Moore, playing old friends who once slept together before Firth's character fell in love with Matthew Goode. It could be a very emotional scene and, indeed, it seems headed that way when Moore's Charley drunkenly says something hurtful to Firth's George. It's either an old friend misunderstanding a character who is already misunderstood by most of society or an old friend being very hurtful just to be hurtful. And I briefly couldn't wait to see which it was and what impact it would have, but the argument and the scene just fizzled out. The best thing about it ended up being Booker T & the MGs' "Green Onions", which I spent the rest of the movie thinking about. Melodrama is needed and welcome in sometimes, you know? If your visuals qualify your movie for Least Subtle Movie of the Year consideration anyways, you might as well give us one or two payoffs in the narrative.

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