Tuesday, October 23, 2007

'Evening' ...

Oh my.

You'd think that cramming a movie full of Vanessa Redgrave and Meryl Streep and their offspring (Natasha Richardson and Mamie Gummer) and Claire Danes and Toni Colette and Glenn Close would yield some cinematic alchemy and their collective star power would produce enough G forces to pin you to your seat, riveted until the credits rolled.

You'd think.

But you'd be wrong.

Granted, I started watching this adaptation of the novel by Susan Minot when I was tired and I fell asleep and woke up in a different part of the movie, but my reaction wasn't, "Oh, I can't wait to finish it tomorrow." It was, "I think I'll just send it back," so unenthralled was I with what I managed to see before I became unconscious.

But I finished it the next day. It's not that it's a bad story. I think it's just better-suited to novel form. Flashing back and forth between then and now is easy to follow in a novel, a chapter of then, a chapter of now. But in a movie, it starts feeling disjointed. Not that some movies don't employ flashbacks to very good effect, but this wasn't one of them.

Glenn Close has a small part in the movie but the woman can't turn in a bad performance. Meryl Streep, too, has a small role and she has the best line in the movie. But the rest of movie left me thinking, "Eh." It's never a good thing when you're watching a character-driven piece and you find yourself not caring about the characters.

Minot also wrote Stealing Beauty which was turned into a movie more than 10 years ago starring Liv Tyler and Jeremy Irons. I really liked that movie. Irons turns in a great performance, but then, when doesn't he? Though I still don't understand why he was in Inland Empire. Then again, I don't understand why anyone agreed to be in Inland Empire.


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