Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Film Club Does Romance

Sunday evening saw a full house of film clubbers gathered in the Millbrooker Towers' Cinema substitute. Tell you what, let's cut the nonsense and just call it the sitting room, shall we?

Frankenkeith was first to arrive; we've not seen him for a while and jolly nice it was to receive him back into the brethren of the slightly pissed film watchers. Shazzerooneypoos arrived soon after, without her usual sidekick who sent his apologies because he'd got lost in the woods at Maker and needed some time to eat, calm down, have a beer etc etc before being ready to appear in public. He did make it for the second half(ish) of the film and didn't look too bewildered by his adventures in the gloaming, so all's well that ends well.

At the usual prompt fifteen minutes behind schedule Slocombe made his entrance and we began the viewing very soon thereafter.
This week's offering was Jeremy Leven's 1994/5 piece of fluffy silliness Don Juan de Marco, starring the eternally lovely Johnny Depp (before he turned into an industry in his own right); the eternally overweight late-period Marlon Brando and the eternally gorgeous Faye Dunaway.
All three turn in terrific performances; Brando in particular is on great understated form as the affable Dr Mickler who tries to understand and treat Depp's delusional character.
The premise of the film is simple - Depp is Don Juan, or rather he believes he's Don Juan "The World's Greatest Lover", in modern day New York. His delusion is quite delightful and Dr Mickler more or less chooses not to treat him at the mental hospital where he works, but to engage with him.The result is both funny (laugh out loud funny on more than one occasion), ridiculous and charming as Mickler takes on some of Don Juan's romantic ideals and rediscovers his dormant love for (and with) his wife (Dunaway).
The plot is slight but the dialogue is sometimes superb and the set piece comic routines really do work.

This is a simple feel-good film; slightly off-the-wall and and made with enough intelligence to engage with the audience and gently challenge it rather than just playing strictly for the lowest common denominator.

The film club scale is a bit wayward on this occasion because I drank rather too much and forgot who said what, but: Dong only saw half the film but didn't take any fag breaks; Shazzerooneypoos made no wuffling noises at all and thoroughly enjoyed it; Slocombe's pithy quote is lost in the haze of red wine, but I think he said that it was worth sitting through Hunger for; Frankenkeith liked it too and was very pleased to see Faye Dunaway who had helped him through those difficult years of his adolescence (in the same way as the original Charlie's Angels did for me, I suspect).

Will you like it? I have no idea. But if you have even the teensiest romantic bone in your body, I'd be prepared to bet that you will.

As a taster, here's the first scene culled from YouTube, stay with it - the pay off is beautifully and quietly done:

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