Thursday, July 05, 2007

A GOOD YEAR - charming, if utterly predictable, romance

I know, I know. Movies where ruthless capitalist bastards "find themselves" in lushly photographed socialist villages are a tad predictable. A GOOD YEAR is no different, but if you're willing to accept the format, it has a lot of laughs and some good old-fashioned sappy romance. Russell Crowe camps it up in the opening act as Max, a greedy capitalist bond-trading bastard par excellence. He manipulates the market to within an inch of the law, shags around, insults his underlings and generally enjoys his Master of the Universe status. When his uncle (Albert Finney) dies and leaves him a French chateau, Max' first impulse is to sell it for a ton of money via his similarly ethically-challenged best-mate and estate agent (Tom Hollander.) There is little in life funnier that seeing Crowe drive past a bunch of French cyclists, give them the finger and shout out "Lance Amrstrong". There's also little funnier in life than seeing a banker stuck in an empty swimming pool unable to reach his blackberry.

Of course, Max is redeemed. He falls in love with a ballsy local waitress (Cotillard, unrecognisable out of her Piaf make-up.) He remembers his uncle and his own youth (Freddie Highmore). He reconciles with his illegitimate cousin (Abbie Cornish) and even his best mate softens. The highlights are the lush photography and Tom Hollander's scene-stealing role as the oleaginous agent. Of course, it's schmaltz. But superior schmaltz all the same.

A GOOD YEAR was released in autumn 2006 and is available on DVD.

No comments:

Post a Comment