giovedì 11 marzo 2010

Less than Zero

One simple question: WHY?
And I can imagine just the following three possibilities:
1 - Heavy gambling debts
2 - The richest cachet of cinema history
3 - A temporary mental illness
If it is not one of the above mentioned causes, I really DON'T/CAN'T understand why on planet earth Daniel Day Lewis could have accepted to play in a film like Nine by Rob Marshall.
Day Lewis, the GOD of acting, a man who changes accent at every movie, a man who played just with his left foot, a man who almost became a professional boxeur to play a boxeur, a man who spent weeks in jail to feel closer to Gerry Conlon, a man who scared to death the whole world playing the bad guy in Gangs of New York, a man who made look cool working in a Beautiful Laundrette of Brixton, a man who was simply irresistible playing a stiff dandy in A Room with a View (Cecil Vyse, I love you and I always will!), a man who left the audience speechless for his talent in There will be blood (I still have to find the right adjective to describe what he was able to do in that role, but I don't think it has been invented yet), my other favourite actor together with Jeremy Irons since I was 17, HIM, reduced to work in a movie where his producer is played (ok, ok, I'm using big words, here) by RICKY TOGNAZZI!!!!!
Stop the world, I want to get off.
Based upon a Broadway musical vaguely inspired by 8 1/2 by Fellini, this movie tells the story of a big crisis. The one of Italian filmmaker Guido Contini, once a genius but now a director looking for inspiration and for a new story that could bring him back glory and success. Besides the problem of not having any idea for his next film (something he has in common with Rob Marshall?), Contini has to face other minor problems in his private life: his wife is sad because he is cheating on her, his lover is sad because she doesn't feel loved enough, his muse is pissed off because she doesn't have a script to work on and, on top of all that, he has to resist the assaults of an American journalist from Vogue who desperately wants to have sex with him (well, who can possibly blame her?). Poor Contini tries to escape this mess going away from Rome, but the mess is following him and he will be forced to take some decisions (at last!).
Nor the catholic religion neither the sweet memory of his dead mamma or the good advises of Lilli, his costumer designer and long-time friend, help him to find a solution, though. In the end, he looses everything: the wife, the lover, the muse, the film. But, after a couple of dark years in which he has the time to know himself better (and to grow a beard that is the only reason why it's worth to arrive till the end of this torture), here it is: back with a new and (apparently) great movie!
There are so many things I didn't love in Nine that I really don't know where to start.
First of all, every single detail, scene, character, dialogue looks/sounds extremely false. Everything is so fake that it is just unbearable (starting from Day Lewis exaggerate Italian accent). I've never seen/heard so many banalities about Italy and Italians all together in a single movie. Nothings is missing: the Vespas, Via Veneto, the beautiful women, the latin lovers, the priests, the prostitutes, Positano, il Vaticano, the mandolins in the background and... Sophia Loren!!! (in the worst role of her entire career). Strangely enough nobody is eating a pizza. The scene must have been cut at the final editing. Not to mention some of the songs with original refrains like Be Italian! or Cinema Italiano! repeated a hundred times.
Of Fellini's complex, grotesque and unique universe nothing is left here. The doubts, the deep pain, the despair, the lust that Fellini was able to transform in unforgettable cinema sequences, here are transformed in coarse, kitsch, loud and overloaded musical moments. Subtlety is not the favourite word in Marshall's vocabulary.
The presence of practically the whole Italian cinema (who's missing here?) in the movie is simply ridiculous. From Martina Stella playing badly, very badly the tipical Italian bimbo to the pathetic caricature of the Italian producer played by Tognazzi (you can't see the difference with that awful advertisement passing at the Italian TV a while ago). The only one who manages to give to his small part a charming touch is Valerio Mastandrea. Bravo!
But let's talk about the rest of the cast.
Nicole Kidman is playing the muse, but soon enough she will be able to play just the mummy. Is she still alive or we need to call some ER doctors? I thought she couldn't do worse than her part in Australia but she proved me wrong. Penelope Cruz is the lover and, ok, she is gorgeous, and nice and actually good, but in this movie she is such a damned cliché. Kate Hudson is the Vogue journalist and she is not even beautiful. What she is there for, exactly? Judi Dench (Lilli), well, is Judi Dench. She is perfect, as usual. She just needs to change her agent. The only one I really loved, is Marion Cotillard, Contini's wife. She is a very good actress, her role is nicely written and her two songs were the only two musical moments having a bit of heart and style. Maybe it is because you think about Giulietta Masina, looking at her, but finally I felt something and not just irritation when she was on the screen.
And Day Lewis? Well, he is going around, looking visibly lost.
In one of the last scenes, Contini is talking with Lilli and he said (thinking about his behaviour towards his wife): "I should etch idiot on my forehead, shouldn't I?"
For being part of a movie like that, yes Daniel, you definitely should.

I'd like to thank Nandina for giving me the idea of the gambling debts and for resisting with me until the end of the movie.

10 commenti:

  1. and I also noticed that nobody is eating pizza (but pasta is named in the FIRST scene!), a very important detail! :))

    (gambling debts are the answer!)

  2. Did you see Chicago? Marshall did that, and I thought that it was pretty enjoyable because it's based on a Bob Fosse play that's meant to be thin and extremely flashy and shallow. I saw the trailer for this movie a while back and felt a sudden nausea until the 2 minutes had passed. You realize how american (more particularly hollywood) it is to take a topic with such depth as a fellini film and cram it into something as air thin as a musical. I think someone should do it in the other direction: Von Trear should make Highschool Musical 3 into a film...or Lynch should remake Disney's Beauty and the Beast...

  3. @Nandina: sicuro che l'hanno tolta al montaggio la scena della pizza, sicuro!
    @PartisanLost (hey, nice name!): No, I didn't see Chicago, but everybody told me it is a very good movie. I have to say that now I don't really feel like watching it! I'd love to see Von Trier making High School 3... I'm sure that CHAOS WILL REIGN!!!

  4. So glad I didn't waste 2 hours of my life on this! And what is happening to Nicole Kidman's face....weird!

  5. Ultimamente hai visto/vorresti vedere qualche nuova uscita cinematografica italiana?

  6. @LC: mi piacerebbe molto vedere il nuovo film di Ozpetek, ma devo rimandare alla prossima volta che passero' dall'Italia...

  7. L'ho trovato molto maturo come film, sia per il regista che per gli attori.

    Mi sono invece perso An Education, l'hanno tolto dalle sale..

  8. Per An Education poco male... del film di Ozpetek in effetti mi stanno parlando tutti molto bene. Ho davvero voglia di vederlo!

  9. Ciao, ti leggo spesso con interesse. E spesso le nostre opinioni coincidono. Ma stavolta no... Se hai voglia e tempo, di Nine ho scritto qui:


  10. Ciao Effe,
    Sono felice che tu mi segua e spero che continuerai a leggermi. Ho letto la tua recensione e adesso ti lascero' anche un commento. Ovviamente, non sono tanto d'accordo (altrimenti non avrei scritto quello che ho scritto). Ma che bello lo scambio di opinioni, lo adoro!


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