Monday, April 06, 2009

Busy - and Duplicity

It's been a busy week, too busy to do much in the way of blogging. I had a 1500 word assignment to do for my Varsity course, and wanted to get that out of the way before the weekend, when we were celebrating my wife's 60th (her actual birthday was last Thursday, but that was a quieter affair). Plus I had a couple of music transcriptions to do (putting them on Sibelius and then transposing them down), and rehearsals for the play, and....
Well, anyway, it was busy. The birthday 'party' went off well (thanks for asking) and we managed to keep most of it a surprise until the last minute. Which was a major achievement.
My wife and I went to see Duplicity on the Thursday (since we weren't officially celebrating the birthday that night) and it was mostly enjoyable. Clive Owen and Julia Roberts brought off a tricky script in fine form, managing to keep the human side of things to the fore in the midst of all the complications. For some reason Roberts was made to look less attractive than she can be; dark hair, awkward shoes (to walk in), little 'gloss'. A pity, really, because I think people still go to see her because she's got an unusual beauty, and that's worth promoting rather than undercutting.
Paul Giamatti and Tom Wilkinson make the most of their venal roles and the absurdly ridiculous slow-motion fight at the opening of the movie.
The plot was complex and the revelation of the sting at the end a bit unfair on the audience. Plus there were a couple of cheats in the last stages, I think, and the lack of explanation for these slightly undermined what was otherwise a fairly well crafted script.
Stephanie Zacharek (one of my favourite online reviewers) writes in
...the structure of "Duplicity" is its own worst enemy. In his efforts to keep us on our toes, Gilroy [the scriptwriter] tosses in so many plot reversals that what he's reversing ceases to matter -- we know it's only a matter of time before he'll turn the tables again, and thus the plot's alleged slipperiness becomes just another kind of predictability. Worst of all, Gilroy saves the biggest twist for the wrap-up at the end, leaving the wrong characters -- and the audience -- stranded and screwed. The overall effect is one of convoluted slickness.
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