that single man
I caught "A Single Man" last night, and it is an incredible film if you let yourself be seduced by the rich visual beauty and subtle, moving performances of the actors, and let go of the flaws. I'm going to get gushy.
But rambly review aside, I save the "breathtaking" adjective for Jon Kortajarena, because he literally took breaths away when he appeared in the movie. (I swear everyone in the theatre sighed.)
So, about the movie.
I can't say I love the jump shots, or the times where it seemed marooned, but I find it futile to resist the allure of the setting (Colin Firth's character's house! The wood panels in his car!), the costumes (the glasses, the shirts, the suits!), all the ridiculously good-looking men, and the languid framing of the scenes. From the moment you hear Jon Hamm's lovely, level voice (uncredited) coming out of the phone bearing bad news to Colin Firth's character George, you know you are in the hands of someone with a disciplined, exacting vision, and the imagination and resources to bring it to fruition (that would be Tom Ford).
This is the kind of movie an obsessive soul makes, if he or she could command it just so. I mean, Jon Hamm's (whom I want to marry) voice! For a minute-long phone call! It feels extravagant but then, why fight it? I enjoyed the immersive pull of the movie on me, like I was being drawn into another world, where everything, to the eye, is impeccable. I want to move in for all kinds of shallow reasons.
But Mr Ford's drive for perfection was the biggest drag on the film. His hand is too deliberate sometimes, and it casts a kind of inertia on the story's unfolding. I can't decide if that worked for the movie - was he in some way, trying to convey the agonising slowness that drove George to contemplate suicide? Never mind, ooh, there's Jon Kortajarena!
Colin Firth's acting is faultless and his performance haunting and he gave the film soul. I read reviews where people found the visual perfection too much, but I thought the flawless finish of the surfaces made for a nice contrast to the mess of George's internal world. It's not an original touch, but it worked for me. Matthew Goode was excellent. Julianne Moore did her best, but I don't think anyone can save a cliche THAT big. Nicholas Hoult was beautiful, and reminded so much of his character in "Skins". But not as beautiful as Jon Kortajarena.
I would buy the DVD of this movie, simply to have in my hand this luxurious, visual treat. It is hilariously out of place with my DVD collection, which seems to consist mainly of Pixar movies.
Picture from jon-k.net