Directed By: Gregor Jordan
Written By: Bret Easton Ellis & Nicholas Jarecki
Based on the Novel By: Bret Easton Ellis
Cinematography: Petra Korner
Editor: Robert Brakey
Cast: Jon Foster, Billy Bob Thornton, Kim Basinger, Amber Heard, Winona Ryder, Lou Taylor Pucci, Chris Issak, Mickey Rourke, Brad Renfro, Rhys Ifans, Angela Sarafyn, Katy Mixon, Theo Rossi, Jessica Stroup
One week in L.A. in 1983, featuring movie executives, rock stars, a vampire and other morally challenged characters in adventures laced with sex, drugs and violence.
The film while not as bad as some reviewers have made it out to be. It’s not good and barely passable. One of the reasons I think many viewers will be turned off by the subject matter. None of the characters is likeable and since it is set in the 80’s, the decade of excess they do so many deplorable things. It’s like watching hell on earth dressed up in nice clothes and mode with styled hair.
The film seems only to be here to try and shock the audience. While this may have worked in the 80’s like a time capsule or a document to the nihilistic lifestyles of the time like LESS THEN ZERO, but at least LESS THEN ZERO has sympathetic characters and a protagonist who was straight laced.
In this film every character has some sort of Vice that they are not ashamed of while some characters pay the price most. Nothing really happens and that is the problem with this movie. Nothing really happens It’s just is experiencing a few days in their life and that would be fine if this film was a character study but these characters aren’t interesting enough to want to study. They rarely of ever get our sympathies and there non existent storylines just seem to end abruptly no rhyme or reason.
I have read the book prior fo watching this film and while the book is barely ok. It is a lot more shocking then anything. This movie even tries to approach which is strange considering the author helped co-write the script. What is on screen is like an R-Rated version on an NC-17 book. It’s Completely defeated, the characters/actors you want to see more of are more like extended cameos. So we are left more with the model-esque young cast.
There is nothing really wrong with the movie. It looks good the acting is good. The script and direction seem to be the main problems. There is very little style in both. The camera just seems to lay there and once in a while tries slow close-up.
The book revolved around inner monologues characters describing the action and their own psyche. On screen it doesn’t translate. We see action but don’t really know what drives these actions. We get very few glimpses but those are vague. There is plenty of sex. So much so that Amber Heard is barely clothed in this film.
There is very little violence where as in the book that is copious amounts of sex but there is more violence. Only one character in the film seems to pay for their sins, but the films chronology is off.
The one artistic choice that seems to be made is to link various characters to each other socially. So they then delve into each others storylines, like a Robert Altman ensemble cast. Only with a lot less finesse.
As I was watching the film I thought of a few ways to link certain characters to make the film more interesting plus make watching it a more worthwhile endeavor
Like having the woman the rock star beats to death be the daughter of the studio head played by Billy Bob Thornton her character grew up in private school and is kind of conservative but loves the rock stars music plus her brother is always telling her to let loose have fun. So the one time she does she is beaten to death with this the revelation his mother is sleeping with his best friend. Who is also sleeping with him and his girlfriend then his girlfriend dying of aids leaves us with a sympathetic character.
Also you could have the vacationing friend and his dad gave the two girls they chat up at the bar in Hawaii could be the rock stars ex-wife on vacation with a friend and her son. At least it has some reverence to the plot line as the Hawaii scenes and story could have been cut out of the film. Just like Brandon Routh’s subplot as a vampire they was cut but is not shown but could have at least put some interest into the film.
This film seems to go for a shocking nature. That wants to explore the darker side of life and the characters that inhabit it and the loose morals Of this social circle.
Though unfortunately other than the character being pretty not only is there barely any depth but they seem almost interchangeable and worse they remain uninteresting. As things just seem to happen and it barely causes a blip on any of their screens.
As everyone is supposed to be vapid and of questionable morals. This film just seems to go for showing them that way from dark to even deeper despair. So that it becomes a shock fest but it doesn’t feel that shocking more like you have seen this done better and worse. The people you want to see punished barely are and you don’t like anyone to begin with so what would you care?
I would say you are better off reading the book, but even the book feels a bit like characters left out from the writers other books and he just included them. In an overall reaching story to give them something to do. As the film even leaves out the most interesting tale of the vampire from the book. Who really helped tie everything together.
Supposedly As originally written the film was supposed to be more satirical and comedic about the events. It seems more finding the humor in the characters vanity. It was originally an 154 page screenplay. Once Gregor Jordan came onto direct the project the tone got much darker and serious. Trying to become more of a moral story or where lack of morals can lead and shortened the script to 94 pages. This was more his meditation on the tone and characters.
Though all stories are pretty Dark, Brad Renfro’s character’s storyline seems the most disturbing as it involves innocents who aren’t in the same lifestyle and can’t fight back. Though the rock star’s story ending that is also kind of bleak.
The film seems to eventually make the audience feel as numb as the characters. As it just keeps piling on the atrocities. While having a cynical attitude yet seemingly having no sense of humor at all. Taken so seriously. Yet the film is as empty as the characters.
The film also seems to Employ the policy of hiding the violence yet employing more nudity and sex. Where it tries to sensationalize rather then deal with it more matter of factly.
I like to characterize this film as a much ado about nothing. It is sensationalized but nothing much happens when It’s done well you get THE BIG LEBOWSKI when it’s subpar you get a film like this.
Since it most likely will never be shown only wait for cable, but Don’t clear out your day or night, just to watch it.