These are the hardest reviews to write. I’m watching a movie that’s easy on the eyes, because there’s great cinematography. We see stories set in Paris, London, Rio, and the U.S. There are plenty of great shots. There’s a great soundtrack, and a superb cast that includes Ben Foster, Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, and Anthony Hopkins.
That all sounds great on paper, but…the movie sucked.
I was afraid it would when I’m watching an attractive woman take topless photos to start the movie, and the sleazy guy taking them asks her to “do something for him.” Even though the younger sister is there and expressing her disapproval the entire time. Which also leads me to ask – why was the sister even there? She just likes reading her Tolstoy while her sister prepares for a life as a call girl, I guess.
We hear Tom Waits singing, and really want to like the movie. Yet you just can’t keep having characters say and do ridiculous things. It made me dislike films like Crash and Babel.
The screenplay was written by Peter Morgan, who gave us The Queen and Frost/Nixon. Perhaps he should stick with Presidents and royalty.
Half way through the film I was wondering how all these stories would connect, but at the end, only a handful of them do. Some of the characters merely cross paths at an airport in Denver.
There are a few good scenes, but even those have flaws; for example, the one where Anthony Hopkins tells a story at an AA meeting. It could’ve been so much more, and…I was left thinking this was like some acting exercise a drama coach gives his students.
So many characters do and say such ridiculous things in this, you might find that you’re asking yourself 360 different questions.
n How could you blackmail somebody for sleeping with a call girl they didn’t sleep with?
n Who is he telling? The wife or boss of Jude Law, and why would they believe him?
n Why would a guy that almost slept with a call girl, immediately go back to his hotel andimmediately call his wife proclaiming his love, and sounding like the guiltiest man on the planet.
n Why would his wife, who is having an affair, do the things she does with her lover?
n Why would a dangerous sex offender be allowed to travel alone? Oh, because he said he thinks he could handle it.
n Why would a gorgeous woman insist on that sex offender (knowing he’s a prisoner) going back to the hotel and sleeping with her?
n Why would she leave Anthony Hopkins a note saying she met a “really cute guy” when…there’s nothing remotely cute about him (unless she likes neck tattoos).
n Why would somebody at the morgue say something so horrible to a character trying to identify a body that could be his daughter?
Believe me, I could go on and really get to 360 questions that need to be answered. It’s strange, because you wonder if the screenwriter even knows himself how life really works.
One of the reasons the British version of The Office is better than the American version, is because it seems more realistic. There are awkward silences, subtle facial expressions; and it doesn’t just try to be an over-the-top sitcom going for cheap laughs.
This movie needed to be a lot more realistic to pack the powerful punch it went for.
The press release I got for this states that an action early in the movie “sets a series of events which ripple around the globe.”
In actuality, that’s not the case.
Another example of the frustration I had with this movie, is in a scene where parents watch their daughter in a play. She forgets her lines, and everything happening in that scene is cliché. The dad yelling the line out from the crowd, the teacher walking on stage, many of the parents filming; it only gets a bit interesting the way the father comforts her backstage with a prop beard. The little girl doesn’t even seem all that bothered – which was perfect. It’s not until the parents glance at each other, both looking suspicious (for good reason), and quickly looking away.
Argggggghhhh! This movie could’ve been tweaked a bit and been worth your time. Instead, you’ll be asking yourself why you wasted your time.
I’m giving it 1 star out of 5, for a beautiful shot of the rain soaked Vienna streets, and an interesting use of a cell phone song in one scene.