8:00 PM, 28th September, 2012
Bel Ami is the latest film adaptation of Guy de Maupassant's 1885 novel of the same name. It is set in Paris in the 1890s and tells the story of Georges Duroy (Pattinson), a soldier returned from war. Georges has come from poverty and uses three of the wives of his acquaintances - Madeleine Forestier (Thurman), Clotilde de Marelle (Ricci) and Virginie Walters (Scott Thomas) - to rise above that poverty in the wealthy environs of Belle Epoch Paris.
Georges goes from being a clerk to journalism after a chance meeting with an old army friend in a bar. The film charts Georges success at journalism (with the help of Madeleine Forestier's words and ideas) and uses flashbacks to a scene of Georges's poverty to highlight his change in fortune - at least initially.
I found this to be a well-paced movie, with beautifully shot scenes. Christina Ricci does an excellent job as the wife Georges takes as a mistress and Kristin Scott Thomas is always good. Unlike some, I didn't find Robert Pattinson's performance too wooden and found what the film had to say about human motives very interesting. I also found Colm Meaney excellent in the supporting role of the owner of the newspaper Georges ends up working for. All in all, this film is a good night out.
9:53 PM, 28th September, 2012
Taking its title from David Byrne's 1983 classic song of the same name, This Must be the Place charts the middle-aged and washed-up Cheyenne's (Penn) quest to find out some fundamental facts; about himself, about his father and about where his home really is. As a backdrop to this quest is Cheyenne's past as a former international rock-star, his father's experience during the holocaust and his dislocation from his native America.
Directed by Paolo Sorrentino, unknown outside of his native Italy, This Must Be the Place is a film that, despite all its claims about discovering basic truths and re-asserting your life's direction, is weirdly shapeless. There are some strong performances from Penn, Frances McDormand, Judd Hirsch, Harry Dean Stanton, and Eve Hewson (Bono's banging daughter), and there is a solid sprinkling of humour and wistfulness, yet the film lacks a cohesive narrative structure or any real character development. You might be left disappointed if you come to a film looking for those things, if not jump aboard this quixotic road-quest film and see if you can find any truths that might've eluded Cheyenne.