dir: Damien Chazelle
Well, that was a lot of film. It was definitely not one of the best flicks of last year, but it was definitely one of the most films of the year.
It’s three hours and 10 minutes long. I pity the bladders of anyone that saw this on the big screen, and didn’t want to miss a thing thinking something important might happen. I watched this in the luxury of my unheated lounge room, perched on the edge of a milk crate, on an old black and white 30cm television, just like the makers intended, just to make the experience really authentic.
I’m not a film snob. I don’t pretend to know more than anyone else about the history of cinema, or the transition of the industry from the silent era through to the so-called ‘talkies’. In fact, it’s info I try to actively avoid, because, honestly, who gives a fuck. But it’s impossible for me to have been watching movies for as long as I have without picking up some reverence for the art form and its history, even if it mostly seems like I only watch movies to kill time and have something to bitch about online.
I daresay Damien Chazelle also has some reverence for American movie history, but then he’s also a big la de da Hollywood film director, and can make and shape his efforts to say whatever it is that he wants to say about it.
And what does he have to say about it? Seeing movies on the big screen is glorious and transcendent. Working in the so-called film industry is like being showered in elephant shit at the beginning, doing okay for a while, and then you get brutally booted just for the fuck of it at the end.
In other words, nothing we didn’t already know, which we’re told non-stop for over 3 hours.
I maybe don’t have any real knowledge of what the 1920s looked like, but I have to say there were very few scenes in this flick where I felt like I was watching something set in the 1920s. And the weird thing about that is that the production goes to extreme lengths to achieve its version of authenticity, at great expense, with a great deal of effort.
And I found pretty much none of it convincing.
Especially, especially, especially…I have to say, the element that was least convincing, this feels so disloyal and unAustralian, but it’s Margot Robbie, I’m so sorry.
She is, again, sorry, she’s terrible in this. I don’t get it, unless the whole point is that she’s playing a terrible actress. She also looks like nothing from that era that I’ve ever seen, like no other person alive in the 1920s. Maybe she’s an alien who’s been kicked off the UFO for being too annoying.