Friday, January 25, 2008

I just don't get why everyone's raving about THE SAVAGES

Wendy and John Savage are self-involved middle-aged siblings, estranged from their father. When he's diagnosed with dementia, they put him in a nursing home. Wendy suffers from guilt and sentimentalises everything. John is more rational, on the surface at least.

This film was sold to me as bleakly comic, bravely unsentimental, a showcase for two outstanding performances from Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Well, I found the script superficial, irritatingly earnest, dismally slow-paced and basically boring. Writer-director Tamara Jenkins' treatment of the impact of mental illness on close family is a very poor relation to Sarah Polley's infinitely superior AWAY FROM HER. Comedy? What comedy? Philip Seymour Hoffman in a neck brace? Please. Which brings me to Laura Linney's apparently Oscar-worthy performance. All I can say is that there was nothing exciting here. Nothing that moved me. Nothing that will stay with me. Even Philip Seymour Hoffman, an actor to whom I ascribe generally god-like status, is lacklustre here. The production values are also terrible. Just look at the lighting and picture quality when they're filming scenes in ill-lit bedrooms or on motel balconies at dusk.

I just don't get what all the fuss is about.

THE SAVAGES played Sundance, Toronto and London 2007. It opened in the US in 2007 and is currently on release in Singapore and the UK. It opens in Sweden, Belgium, France and Spain in February. It opens in Norway in March and in Italy and Germany in April.

1 comment:

  1. You're not alone. As much as I liked the performances, the movie did very little for me. It was trying too damned hard.