Movie Review by Dr Kuma
Starring: Joseph Fiennes, David Wenham, Adrian Lester, Anne Brochet, Rosemary Murphy
Director: Milcho Manchevski
I don’t know what I can say about this film to describe it properly. I’ll try by saying it’s a cross between a harsh Mexican western (THE MOLE aka EL TOPO) and an urban drama. I kid you not. The film’s director Milcho Manchevski sums it up better than I could, he may have had an idea of what he was trying to do: “The motto of the film is: Where does your voice go when you are no more? What do we leave behind? Is it the story of our lives? Is it how others remember us? Is it the children we leave behind? Or the material records such as movies and photographs? Is it only the ashes in the urn? Is it the Dust?
Well now we at least know where the title comes from.
The story concerns the events of today, 100 years after most of the action is set in. A desperate robber, Edge, tries to part an elderly women from her life savings when he breaks into her apartment. Angela, the old women, won’t give in that easily and says that if he stays and listens to her story and buries her in her homeland she will tell him where an ancient hoard of gold is hidden. All he has to do is listen to the Kane and Abel type story of two brothers Elijah (Joseph Fiennes) and embittered Luke (David Wenham). What follows makes THE BEGUILED look like an average run of the mill western!
The main problem is that although the film has many great ideas it really doesn’t hold together. It’s like a jigsaw with the corners missing. Although you can see exactly what it’s supposed to be, it never looks complete. Jumping between the centuries as the stories are recounted jars a bit and it ends up becoming a curiosity piece. The movie itself is beautifully filmed and lit, but has such a nasty undercurrent you never feel involved.
Although I didn’t particularly like the film, some of it’s images really do stick in my mind, especially the way the director links the story of the modern day robbers pilgrimage to the place he has heard so much about at the end of the film. It really is very clever and visually striking. This really should merit a good review but all I’ll say is that it tries too hard to please. It’s a western from the east side. A mix between open spaces of the desert and claustrophobic streets of the city. A culture clash that doesn’t quite work, but full marks for trying something different. Believe me, this is unlike anything out there at the moment so that should be cause enough for the curious and the followers of the unusual to try and hunt it out.
A good idea, but dust crumbles