Thursday, November 23, 2006

The post, based on the movie, based on the book

finished that dang book i was yapping about and the end was sadder, subtler and more profound than i was expecting. some seriously heavy meditation on whole-life-scale compromise that i will not elaborate further on here for fear of spoilage. (ok, it's not exactly as if "Age of Innocence" is some hot bestseller right now that everyone's reading, and most folks who haven't read the book have probably seen the flick, but hey, maybe someone out there is just picking the thing up...)

as for the flick, i went out and rented it immediately upon finishing the book. it's very good, but not great and the main reason can be expressed in one (compound) word: voice-over. Scorsese obviously respects the text greatly and therefore he wants to have this old woman reading to you from it throughout the movie, but nearly every time the voice-over came in, i totally felt jarred out of the story. the acting is very, very strong and i wish Scorsese (who--duh!--shows up in an eccentric cameo: this time as a wedding photographer w/ no lines) hadn't felt the need to throw all that narration in there--it makes it seem like a movie based on a book instead of its own independent entity, which the performances and the production design would have very much added up to if left to their own devices.

as with the book, the epilogue affected me the most. Robert Sean Leonard--maybe you've seen a little movie called "Dead [Fucking] Poets Society"--is excellent in a cameo as Newland's son. i really can't express how amazing the end of this story is. as usual, it's better in the book.

ps-i'm just realizing that the voice-over wasn't the only thing about the movie that bothered me. truthfully, i'm not sure if i ever really believed that Michelle Pfeiffer loved Daniel Day-Lewis--she was like a hair too aloof. anyway, i guess that's a pretty focal thing...

pps-Winona Ryder did a dang good job. not sure if i've ever seen her seem so girlish, except maybe in Beetlejuice or something. she's perfect for the character of May.

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