Entries tagged with “Jonathan Pryce”.


One knows that summer will come soon to its end when brainless films are no longer exclusively occupying the list of weekly premieres in cinemas. It must be about time as ‘The Wife‘ which premiered this week is the first interesting new film I have seen on the big screens in months. It’s not a masterpiece, but a film that tells an interesting story (based on a novel by Meg Wolitzer) with compelling characters and and brings up sensitive issues. It is also the film that proposes the first solid contender for the Best Actress in a lead role at the next edition of the Academy Awards. Write it down: I put my bet on Glenn Close being among the five nominees waiting for the announcement next February.

 

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3750872/

source https://www.imdb.com/title/tt3750872/

 

Joseph Castleman  ( Jonathan Pryce) is an American writer of Jewish origin who receives the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1992 (thinking about Philip Roth who died a few months ago without having received the award is inevitable). Joan (Glenn Close) is as they say in the thanking speeches his ‘better half’. It’s just that as they are traveling to Stockholm and they are preparing to attend the famous ceremony, she does not want to be mentioned and thanked in the speech as the supporting wife. She has good reasons for this, as we shall learn in a development of the story that describes the few days preceding and the day of the ceremony but also brings back flashes from the history of their relationship and of his writing career.

 

(video source Sony Pictures Classics)

 

I liked the story and the way the heroes are being introduced and their personalities develop. Beside Joseph and Joan we also meet their son who is an aspiring writer fighting to find his own path (Max Irons, the son of) and the unauthorized biographer (played by the excellent Christian Slater) who is digging for sensational dirt in the life of the writer. Glenn Close is fabulous,but I found Jonathan Pryce somehow lacking the stamina that is assumed to be dominating for his character. The story brings up interesting issues related to the pains of writing, to creativity and authorship, and to the place of women in the world of literature, but the Swedish director Björn Runge explains a little bit too much to my taste. The formidable scene of confrontation of the couple to the final is very well filmed, with nervous takes of hand-held camera, just to be followed by a very conventional and expected conclusion. It’s like the director was concerned that the film will look ‘too European’ for the American audiences. ‘The Wife‘ could have been a memorable film. As it is, it will be remembered mostly for Glenn Close’s acting performance and for the frozen Stockholm images enveloping the Nobel Prize ceremony festivities.

 

 

 

I got very late to seeing Brazil. 27 years later. It was released in 1985, one year after Orwell’s year, which was also the exact moment I left my own Orwellian universe, the one where I had lived the first 31 years of my life. I was too busy finding my ways in the new world to see good movies then, I had no time and no money, the getting back to the pleasure of seeing movies happened only a few years later. This is how I missed this exuberant anti-utopia, an almost permanent mix of dreams and nightmares, where reality is the longest and darkest nightmare of all. Now I eventually found the time and the opportunity to do it, from the perspective and with the experience of an individual who spend an almost equal period of time in a supposedly free society. I was impressed.

 

source http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088846/

 

The story of the clark in the Kafkaesque bureaucratic system is basically similar to the one in 1984. What is different here is the freedom that director Terry Gilliam took in building his retro-futuristic world, the infinite imagination in building the sets in all their complexity and attention to details. There are many memorable scenes in this film, some impress by the visuals, other by the rhythm of the action, the surprising actions. the relation between the characters that borrows a lot from the classical films of Chaplin, Keaton, Laurel and Hardy in a Metropolis atmosphere. Almost each scene is a masterpiece of sets creation and architecture.

 

(video source thecultbox)

 

Jonathan Pryce made here probably the best role of his career, while Bob Hoskins and Robert De Niro (not necessarily in the best role of his life) leave their marks as well. Almost three decades later the future imagined in movies like 1984 and Brazil is closer to our reality than ever. Mind control, interference of the authorities in private lives, permanent supervision, and huge electronic bureaucracies at work in any aspect of life are all realities.  Some of the machines that we are using may be more sophisticated or just different than the ones imagined by the directors of those movies, but in many other aspects we are almost there.