Tuesday, November 17th, 2015

By The Sea

There were such high expectations after Angelina Jolie’s second time behind the camera directing the Oscar nominated “Unbroken” from a script by the Coen brothers but sadly she has followed this up with a real dud.  Pretty to look at, but painfully slow to sit though its seemingly interminable 132 minutes.  This time out Ms Jolie … or as she now wishes to be known Ms Jolie Pitt …was the writer, director and star, which were simply two roles too many. It takes a very unique and exceptionally talented actor to successfully be able to direct oneself, and sadly Jolie Pitt has proved she is certainly not one of them.
The rather magnificent setting is an old grand hotel perched on a cliff overlooking a small village on the island of Gozo off Malta in the mid 1970’s, and where we first see  Roland (Brad Pitt) and his overdressed chic wife Vanessa (Angelina Brad Pitt) in their perfect convertible racing too it through bendy country roads. When Vanessa steps out of the car into this idyllic picturesque spot, she turns her nose up and disdainfully blurts out “It smells like fish!” This turns out to the least of her worries as once she is ensconced in their hotel suite, she rarely ventures out all day, whilst Roland a novelist, spends his whole day in the village bar trying to get over his writers block.

Whilst her husband seeks solace in copious amounts of drink, Vanessa resorts to pill-popping and sitting on their balcony reading Vogue all day long. They have reached this arrangement about how they spend their days totally apart because of something obviously quite terrible in their past which they always allude too, but never talk about.  Their moods alternate between sullen and sulky to downright melancholic as both of them are obviously deeply unhappy, and it really is hard to fathom out if this, their fourteenth year married, will be their last one together.  He falls in bed drunk every night whilst she sits there in her expensive lingerie just pouting like an irritated ice Queen

Then one day a young French couple on honeymoon turn up to stay in the hotel in which Vanessa and Roland seemed to have been the only guests in so far.  Lea (Melanie Laurent) and Francois (Melvil Poupaud) cannot keep their hands off each other, which is obvious from all the noise drifting through their bedroom walls. When Vanessa discovers a hole in the wall she starts spying on the couple making love, and when Roland catches her at it, he joins in and the two very creepily become voyeurs.  It actually becomes one activity they do together and it finally leads to them to start making out at last.
By the time of the big ‘reveal’ as to why Vanessa in particular has been behaving badly in such a way that could jeopardise Lea and Francois’s relationship as well as her own,  it is all such a let-down it seems somewhat inconceivable that it took so long to reach such a cliched reason.   Jolie Pitt has paid such excellent attention to the finite detail of the look of the movie from the set itself to her rather extensive period wardrobe, but sadly simply lacked any of that same close scrutiny to more important aspects such as the script itself.
Whilst both Pitts are both awkward and uncomfortable in their roles, credit where it is due and in this case asides from the location, it goes to the fine supporting cast of talented French actors that included the ever wonderful Niels Arestrup, Mélanie Laurent and Melvil Poupaud.
The last (and first time) that Mr and Mrs Brad Pitt starred in a movie together was ten years ago in the highly successful comedy action movie “Mr. & Mrs Smith”.  On that time they also played a bored married couple, but they were also both assassins hired by competing agencies to kill each other.  This time it almost seemed like they might just simply bore themselves to death.

Posted by queerguru  at  20:37


Genres:  drama

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