Sunday, 29 June 2008

If You'd Handed Us A Shotgun, We Wouldn't Have Missed

I have slight hangover after last nights beer adventures but I survive the lie-in. Then I take the 'victorious' dog on the park and L joins us.

In the afternoon, for the second time in two days, I go for a swim. I have a triathlon coming up in two weeks time which will be my first involving 'the bit where you have to get wet' for almost a year. It's busy in the pool, probably because they've cut an hour off the length of the session. Thankfully, they have put an extra lane in and most of the hordes are in the bit that isn't laned. The changing rooms are hell though, full of 'kid' kids and 'grown up' kids messing around, so for the second time this week it's impossible to get a shower.

Typically, the lane I choose ends up being the one with the floater in it. The chap can obviously swim but he's another of those who likes to float backwards. Long after I get out and sit having a coffee waiting for L, who's in the gym, he's still floating up and down, backwards.

I share the coffee room with a huge Chinese family on a big day out. It doesn't look as if most of them have been anywhere near the water but have instead simply come along for the ride. Eventually a gaggle of girls join them complete with hairdryers, curling tongues and the like, obviously having been camped out in the showers for some time. It was a complete waste of their time and effort doing their hair because now the whole group of twenty-odd of them are stood in the doorway to the centre watching in horror as the torrential rain falls outside. There's not a brolly between them.

Late afternoon and we all (not Son obviously) watch the remake of the Amityville Horror. Daughter rented it, but was spooked by it when she attempted to watch it alone. So, we lend our moral support. I must say I can't really see why she got spooked. Most horror films these days are 15 certificates and hardly ever scary.

The story of course relates to the alleged haunting of the house the Lutz family bought at a knockdown price. It was cheap because Ronald DeFeo, Jr. had murdered his entire family there. Scary happenings occur almost as soon as they move in and the film recounts their 28-day stay at the house until they fled. Most things happen at 3.15am, the time of the murders, this also seems to be the time when Mr Lutz gets it on with Mrs Lutz, so no cut-off times in that household. Some things have been changed; their daughter begins seeing one of the dead family, a girl called Jodie, who was actually a pig in the original but hey, small detail. Also, George Lutz is portrayed as more of a maniac in this one and even axed the family dog to death where in fact, I'm pleased to report, the dog escaped intact with the rest of the family. That apart, a decent enough film.

Then in the evening, we're at Broadway, where there's still no mango juice, to see 'The Edge Of Love'. It's a film about Dylan Thomas, which doesn't tell you much about him at all.

The film opens during the Blitz, where Ikea Knightley, sorry I mean Keira Knightley, has returned to the scene of her death in Atonement and is singing 'down in the tube station at midnight' or something like that. She's Vera Phillips and she's about to make the same mistake again and fall for another solider that goes off to war.

She wanders into a bar where she bumps into her childhood sweetheart and first shag, a Mr Dylan Thomas (Matthew Rhys), who is currently churning out not very poetic government propaganda films. She has high hopes of picking up where they left off until he introduces his wife, the manic Caitlin (Sienna Miller), not that this will make any difference to his interest in our Keira.

From this point on Dylan Thomas becomes pretty much a side issue as the film focuses on the two feisty women but mainly on Vera. Despite their rivalry over Dylan, the women form an uneasy friendship. Caitlin likes her own infidelities, possibly for the money and probably because her husband is supposedly servicing a long line of infatuated women but the film offers no evidence of this. Dylan justifies his actions by saying that a poet cannot remain faithful, as he needs to experience his vices to the full, of which heavy smoking and drinking are clearly two others. There's an awful lot of smoking in the film, probably putting the anti-smoking campaign back years.

Vera meets and marries an annoyingly persistent admirer of hers William Killick (Cillian Murphy), who promptly knocks her up and then buggers off to war, seemingly for at least eighteen months. During which time the others begin living as a threesome in two cottages atop a Welsh cliff top, where they all somehow resist hurling themselves off.

It was absolutely certain that William would return from war assuming Vera and Dylan had been at it like rabbits, I'm sure he decided this before he even left. That is even before you add in the fact that he is now traumatised by war. So are we, after they undercut Vera giving birth with an amputation on the battlefield. Therefore, it's no great surprise when he attacks Dylan with a shotgun. The surprise is that he misses.

It's a pretentious film with little focus, which gives only a slight insight into Dylan Thomas and his poetry. It's impossible to care about any of the characters. The film is supposedly about the friendship of the two women but we never get the impression they actually become friends in the truest sense. L hates Dylan's character; I hate William's character, so we kind of agree.

Acting wise, the men are ok, they even get a native Welsh speaker in to play Dylan, which is unusual casting these days. Keira Knightly is not that bad, she tries hard, bless her and she is easily out-planked by Miller, who is more Wurzles than Welsh, and makes Keira's lapses in and out of her accent look positively impressive.

No 'edge', no 'love' and if it was meant as a tribute to a supposedly 'great' poet, then it was totally uninspiring in that as well but then I always detested 'Under Milk Wood' after studying it at school. As for my class, if you'd handed us a shotgun, we wouldn't have missed.

No comments:

Post a Comment