28 January 2007

Review: Venus


Genre: Drama

It is needless for me to throw my meagre, ambitious, (late?) compliments into the pot, by now well-brimmed for Mr. O'Toole' s performance in his latest film Venus, so needless in fact, that I shall not attempt to throw anything there, with the exception of that his stiff, well-rehearsed character, constructed with the architectural precision of perhaps the Roman aqueducts, rose tower-like, fit, poised, and polished, from the scraggy landscape of the film.
Indeed, while he was strong and while the petulant gyrations of his co-star, the debutante Ms. Whittaker, were also admirable for their aspiration effected both within the film and without, the film's rest was more anesthetic than elegiac. Charm, it seems, was hidden away in small packets, rough seen only by the eager spectator from the outside. Veritably, the cinematography was awkward at best; recluding shots of the actors in various positions at various points to framed shots from the outside, shots in which the vision was refrained, reframed in almost pointless architectural obscurity and forced posture against walls and trinkets, consuming the entire other half of the frame. Why, I asked myself several times, were the filmmakers so intent on presenting such a distant, such an exceedingly and clearly intendedly objective, perspective on the characters within their play? And the lighting hardly helped either. Restricting their light to only natural light, often filtered from the oustide through windows and curtains into small and tight rooms, was very ambitious, yes, but the task they so set themselves, to effectuate the beauty they obviously intend in their fictional situation Venus by limited descriptive means, only, like the actual light, renders too many shadows, too many dull corners, too little information, and too few gems that sparkle, gems that need to be there for the film to work as it should. And the shadows also run in the screenplay; it was not free from blemish either. In the very same way too intent on growing though in limited descriptive means, the screenplay dodders along, to its detriment, like an old man, specifically the film's Ian, who too set in his vision and final ending ways utterly refuses to recognize or to allow to be recognized by the others around him (i. e., his spectators, if you will) some fuller explications of his own desires and intentions, that by which explications, by which more substantial communication, he and the others around might come to a more fulfilling for both parties fruition. In short, it could have well done with a greater level of exposition, a tider flow of ideas, and a venturesome spirit from the rigid base structure of the tale, that is the dichotomy of a setting sun from a rising one. Unite, crepuscular, if you be great!
(Mr. O'Toole already is - but you don't need me to tell you that.)

Grade: B-

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