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Author Topic: Venus (Roger Michell, 2006)  (Read 1684 times)

Paul

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Venus (Roger Michell, 2006)
« on: 25 Sep 2007 - 23:12 »

Academy Award nominated films starring knights of the realm tend to be tedious affairs but I thought I'd give Michell's latest effort a go, simply because his previous films I'd seen had been interesting and different in tone. Take 2003's ENDURING LOVE, starring Daniel Craig and Rhys Ifans; an incredibly tense drama that you most definitely need to seek out, if you like your thrillers cerebral and original,

So, back to VENUS, a film with a simple enough plot, but oodles of subtext. The film focuses of Maurice (Peter O'Toole in a performance that was nominated for an Oscar, and rightly so), an aging actor who's rapidly approaching his departure from this mortal coil and one that spends his days with fellow has-been thespian, Ian (Lesley Phillips). The pompous Ian awaits the arrival of his great-niece--Jessie--who's being sent down from an undisclosed Northern town to live in London, and plans to have her running around for him like a slave, while teaching her the finer things in life such as literary classics and good cuisine. Both Ian and Maurice are in for a shock because when Jessie arrives, she's not what they imagined and turns out to be a knuckleheaded chav with a potty mouth. Undaunted by Jessie's personality, Maurice spies the opportunity to schmooze with an attractive young lady once more, even though both he and the audience know it'll never amount to anything...

While VENUS starts as a fairly humorous aged vs youth observational comedy, it soon becomes clear that the film is heading into a terrirtory that's going to be a lot more poignant, with O'Toole emboding the character effortlessly and his sparirng with the feisty Jessie (Jodie Whittaker) anchoring an altogether excellent film. As VENUS draws to its close, it becomes very subtle, but manages to really convey what it must be like to realise that you're past your prime and no matter what you try to do, you're now evaded by the things that could be once had at ease.
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