Sunday, 19 February 2012
Fresh from seeing The Artist my latest theatrical adventure was to see this 'tragi-comic love letter to early cinema' at the National. With Anthony Sher in a lead role, it had mixed reviews but I decided to give it a try anyway.
Based around one young mans attempts to turn film into art and his experience of getting sidelined along the way into pleasing audiences, there were lots of sly comparisons with Hollywood which worked very well. I enjoyed the way that his skill was in taking the ideas brought forward by others, and working out how to use them to his advantage (and then pretty much taking the credit). There was a lot of warm humour, and the narration by the older, successful version of the young enthusiast worked well.
Regardless of the good bits, it didn't quite catch fire. The pulling together of the threads at the end was a bit too neat, and it remained far too gentle and steady, even when there were good opportunities to turn up the heat and pace a bit. Towards the end most of the tragedy happened off-stage, and in the the final denoument, without the increased emotional kick that was there for the taking.
The cast though, were good, despite the slightly dodgy east european accents and I was pretty impressed with Damien Molony. The movies that we see being made and produced are very effective, and the set with its back projections worked very well. So a bit of tweaking could really bring it to life I think.
Overall, despite the opportunities for more depth, it all travelled too lightly in the end.