Tag: Jeremy Irons


The Words

September 19th, 2012 — 6:14am

 

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The Words-nf

You probably know about the controversy over whether Shakespeare wrote  the well known works attributed to him  Well imagine for a minute that William Shakespeare was a very good writer but couldn’t really get his first play published. For the sake of this argument, let us imagine that a man by the name of William Stanley writes just one story which is a  great masterpiece but he loses  the manuscript.  Shakespeare, somehow found the manuscript and  it is accepted for publication in his name. He then gets great acclaim and everyone wanted more writings. Since  in fact he really was a  good writer he produces  a lot more stuff  which is received very well although he didn’t write the first piece. In our imaginative story, Shakespeare goes on to fame and fortune and Stanley the writer of the first great piece, that opened the door for Shakespeare lives a mediocre life. The movie we are reviewing has nothing to do with Shakespeare or Stanley  but the above situation  is  the essence of the  fascinating plot of this movie.

Bradley Cooper plays Rory Jansen, a struggling young writer, who gets great praise by a literary agent for his first novel but he is told it isn’t really publishable. Dora (Zoe Saldena) is his girl friend who stands behind him and believes he will some day make it. Dennis Quaid plays the same writer at an older age maybe 10-15 years after he finally came up with that first great novel which set him on the path as a great writer. He is now on tour with his second or third novel. Jeremy Irons plays an old man who we see reaching out to this successful  writer and confronting him with some very true but bad news for him about who really wrote his first novel. Nora Amerzaler plays the girl friend of the old man when he was a young man. They had a wonderful romance in France after the War which went on the rocks when she lost his novel in a briefcase on a train when coming to visit him.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, this is really a story within a story. It presents the audience with the ethical dilemma of what one should do if one had chosen to publish a found manuscript in your own name and then found out who really wrote it. What would the consequences be to you, your agent, your publisher and others if you came clean with what you did years ago when you lied. What should you do now, especially if the original author isn’t demanding that you acknowledge him?

If everything seems somewhat convoluted now , it is because it really is. The screen writers and co-directors Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal deserve to be applauded for this  complex but feasible story. The execution of the film was difficult. While ambiguity is thought provoking, the film could have a been little clearer as it rolled out it’s complex story but in the end the film worked and we walked out of the theatre stimulated to have a lively discussion about it which lingers on in our thoughts .

The film does raise a burning question and that is whether the screen play was inspired by real events? In the film, the manuscript was found in store where it somehow was noted that Hemmingway had some connection. There are stories of this great writer having stored some unpublished manuscripts that  have never been discovered. Perhaps they have been found and published in the finder’s name.  Or maybe  this script is based on a true event about some movie idea or TV show that was credited to someone who found the idea in a “cookie jar” or overheard someone discussing it at a party. In any case it is a thought provoking plot and a good film.

Comment » | 3 Stars, Drama, Romance

Margin Call

October 6th, 2011 — 7:08am

 

****

Margin Call sp     Early in this movie, we see that a brilliant junior member of a Wall Street brokerage team has pieced together information that allows him to realize that derivatives that they had put together from which lots of money had been made for their firm have fallen apart. After taking the information to their bosses up the line, the head honcho has to make a decision whether to try to sell everything although they know it has little value. To execute this would mean that supervisors and brokers alike would have convince other brokers to buy what they had figured out was essentially “garbage”. This fairly succinct plot has captured the Wall Street debacle which involved a few brokerage houses, the results of  which we are still struggling with today. J.C. Chandor, whose father apparently had been a big time broker, pulled together the story and wrote the brilliant script. It was the strength of this story and the vision which Chandor had for the film which convinced Zachary Quinto who also acted in  the movie to sign on with his first time producing team to make the movie . The plot is really actor driven as the overwhelming majority of the film takes place in one floor of an office building with a good deal of talking. However, the actors obviously liked the opportunity that the script gave them as they couldn’t have signed on for the money. The total budget to make this independent film was about 3 million dollars and it was done in 17 days facilitated by the use of digital photography and the “Red Camera.”.  J.C. Chandler executed his story quite well in his first feature film. The all star cast who joined him consisted of  Kevin Spacey, Paul Betany, Jeremy Irons, Zachary Quinto, Penn Badgley , Simon Baker, Stanley Tucci and Demi Moore. The photography, lighting and the subtle musical score complements the undercurrent of the story. You may not understand some of the financial issues which brought about the crisis but the ethical and personal decisions  that emerged were crystal clear and makes for a riveting movie.  (2011)

Comment » | 4 Stars, Drama

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