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Sep 02 2011

Venice,Day 3: Keira's Confession,Kate's Challenge,Madonna's Stumble

Manolis,from the Greek siteCinema News,reporting from Venice for The Film Experience.亚博主页

Madonna and her W.E.cast © the wonderful photographer Fabrizio Spinetta who is sending us great shots for TFE.
Before today's report some thoughts about Madonna's W.E.which I had the privilege of seeing;there were so many people outside the cinema trying to find a ticket.It was difficult to turn your back to Madonna and her W.E.cast who were sitting on the Balcony behind the audience,but once the lights in the Sala Grande were off,you could focus on the openings shots of her film.


The movie reminded me a lot of Julie and Julia.It has a similar structure but the bonding between the two Wallis' (Cornish and Riseborough) is more vague and unfocused than that of Adams and Streep.And let's face it,a Streep this film doesn't have.Andrea Riseborough has the showiest role,but the film doen't help us connect her character or her motives,or help ups sympathize with her or even understand what she sacrificed for her relationship with Edward (which was Madonna's aim as stated in the press conference).The love story of the modern day couple (Abbie Cornish and Oscar Isaac) proves more interesting than one of the most notorious love stories of all time.

I think that the biggest mistake that Harvey Weinstein made with W.E.was leaking that it was an Oscar contender.Sure,the film has some chances in Costume Design,Music (a great score by Yann Tiersen and Abel Korzeniowski) and even Make Up (hello,Old Age!) but apart from that not much more.But the script which was co-written by Madonna is unfocused and full of cliches and predictable ‘twists'.Madonna's directing style fares slightly better but her visual choices are all over the place.The rich production values help make the viewing pleasant but this is not a serious oscar contender.

A Dangerous Method

This is already the third film of the competition (after The Ides of Marchand Carnage) that was based on a play.David Cronenberg's new film is drawn from true life events and the relationship of Sigmund Freud (Viggo Mortensen),Carl Jung (Michael Fassbender) and Sabina Spielrein (Keira Knightley).Fassbender and Mortensen are excellent giving restraint utterly believable performances of these famous figures.Vincent Cassell is also good in a very small role (six minutes?).The Art Direction of the movie may have also been impressive but I couldn't see the scenery;Keira Knightley was chewing on it.Knightley's performance has caused disputes between the critics here.Some are impressed other's believe it's the film's fatal flaw.Sorry Keira fans,but I am with the ones who did not enjoy her overracting.She cycles through every facial expression known to human kind.Needless to say that a Best Actress Oscar nominationis not out of the question.Sabina is obvious Oscar Bait and people often confuse best acting with mostacting.Other strong Oscar prospectsinclude Supporting Actor (Viggo),Adapted Screenplay and Costumes.
Cronenberg,Knightley,Mortensen,Fassy,Sarah Gadon,Cassel are all in Venice!
I am an actress so of course I'm crazy."
Keira Knightley confessed at the press conference for the film.Other highlights from the press conference included Michael Fassbender's research for the role of Jung which he said was reading "Jung for Children: The Idiot's handbook"and Mortensen thanking a fan for giving him a mascot doll of his favorite team San Lorenzo.When asked what he learned about psychoanalysis while making the film,David Cronenberg replied "I found out that of all my actors that are here need psychoanalysis."

Mildred Pierce

At the Mildred Piercepress conference Winslet suprised most of the audience when she confessed how difficult the role was.
...without question,my most challenging job sinceTitanic.Working in a TV series is much more difficult than in a film."
Tomorrow in Venice: the premieres of ALPS(Giorgos Lanthimos Dogtoothfollow up),James Franco's Sal Mineo biopic,Steven Soderbergh's Contagionand Al Pacino's Wild Salome.

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Reader Comments (16)

There has been some recent debate over Keira's category placement in the film.So after seeing A Dangerous Method,would you say that her performance is a leading one or a supporting one?

September 2,2011 | Unregistered Commenterviacom1

Madonna looks amazingly beautiful!!!:-)

September 2,2011 | Unregistered CommenterDave

I wonder how far W.E.will go;that's some serious talent that Madonna has stacked up;especially Oscar Isaac.

I like Keira,but without having seen the film in question,I can completely imagine her overdoing it just as well as I can imagine Viggo putting an absolutely amazing performance.Have to wait and see :P

I hope Wolverine gets an Oscar nod only if she's really good in "Carnage"

September 2,2011 | Unregistered CommenterYavor

The reaction around Knightly performance is a drama in and of itself.I dont like overacting either but given that the real Sabina Spielran was officially diagnosed with hysteria I'd have thought this portrayel would be apt?In any case,its Cronenberg's choice over how she is to portrayed so I think its unfair to lay all the blame on Knightly.

September 2,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose

The reaction to A Dangerous Method and Knightley's performance is super exciting.I love it when people can get that hot and cold about something.It's nice for us to finally be getting great things to debate and talk about.

September 2,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRJ

Kennedy Center Honor for Streep this year according to Larry King.

September 2,2011 | Unregistered Commenter/3rtfu11

^@Rose - I'm all for richly hysterical performances that are well done,but the review seems to imply that Knightley is being too self-conscious and going through a series of gestures,rather than being convincing as a shaded,full-blooded character.It's disappointing - I'll see for myself,but I did have pretty high expectations for her in this movie.

September 2,2011 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

@caroline - with all due respect,how does one convey manic hysteria without going completely over-the-top?Spielran's official diagnosis in real life was"'patient laughs and cries in a strangely mixed,compulsive manner.Masses of tics;she rotates her head jerkily,sticks out her tongue,twitches her legs… Cannot stand people or noise.'

It sounds like Knightley's performance was an accurate reflection of that.Cronenberg said in the press conferance that he aimed to make the movie as accurate as possible.How does one make hysteria subtle?I think thats the main problem I have with these early reviews.

Many of the critics have said that Knightley's hold-nothing back approach is jarring because she's normally so reserved in most of her movies.She calms down during the movie as she recieves treatment and becomes more nuanced,but yes still mannered.I havent seen it but from everything i'v read so far,there are no complaints about it being self-conscious performance.Quite the opposite,its gutsy and brave.Many who didnt like her still praised her for the lack of vanity.Its polarising,yes,and Knightley's detractors will have a field day.But I'd like some real suggestions over how it should've been portrayed instead.

September 2,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose

@viacom1 - I think she was clearly leading,but i wouldn't be suprised if she ends up in the supporting category

@ Rose I didn't say that Knightley is the only one to blame for her 'problemetic' performance.Of course Cronenberg allowed her to portray her like that.I never said that she overacts because she is vain.On the contrary it was brave of her to go with it to the limits.All i say is that in my opinion she wasn't succesful.
Best regards from Venice

September 2,2011 | Unregistered CommenterManolis

BTW: I'm not griping for critics to show more appreciation for Knightley's performance.If they didnt believe in her performance,thats fine.But it bothers me that she's being blamed for going too OTT with the hysteria,when its clearly directorial/script decision.Thats an oversight that I cant get over.But you know,its not cool for a cinephile to criticise Cronenberg and perfectly hip and current to rag on Knightley for over-doing things.

Thats the feeling i get from this review and others like it.Why would Cronenberg coax out nuanced and restrained performances from all the other cast members and completely overlook directing Knightley to perform in the same way?It would be ludicrous unless it was done deliberately.

September 2,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose

@Manolis - I dont mean to be difficult,but how would you have expected this performance to have been like instead?You clearly disliked how un-restrained her performance was,which is fair enough but I'm genuinely curious to understand how hysteria is conveyed in a believable way?Especially when its based on real-life characters/events

September 2,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose

I think you're also being a bit too defensive,Rose.I think everyone gets that she's supposed to be over-the-top - we all saw the trailer.But these performances are always hard to pull off,and I suspect a bit that the reviewer felt that it was a bit gimmicky,perhaps.Overacting when the material calls for it is fine,but obviously,it's a lot more complicated than that.Physical puppetry,in my opinion,is useless if characterization and finesse doesn't come with it,but again,I haven't seen the movie and I'll have to wait to see why or why she won't pull it off.

And pshhh,I've been up and down about Keira over the years,but people are much more eager to embrace someone like her than to commit to hating her.She's a beautiful,young Oscar-nominated actress and bad overacting or not,she's probably already in contention for awards season.So chill.

September 2,2011 | Unregistered Commentercaroline

Manolis,you say that she does every facial expression imaginable,but look at what Jung wrong in his own journal about Sabina: "masses of tics"...it sounds like Keira is doing just what was required of the character.

September 3,2011 | Unregistered CommenterDanielle

@Rose - with all due respect,how does one convey manic hysteria without going completely over-the-top?

Kate Winslet - Hamlet/ Heavenly Creatures.Not exactly a complete 'hysteria",but she had moments that could have been easily unbearable,but she always remained real and natural while being insane.It's a very tricky balance.

I can imagine what critics reproached to Keira : basically doing loads of "acting",not keeping it grounded.But I'm still excited to see her performance,looks like it will be the love/hate turn of the year.

September 3,2011 | Unregistered Commenterzn3v6

okay,people let's just be thankful for the opinion and not attack the reviewer.yeah,everyone wants to understand how keira played and why it did or didn't work but we never will have the proper understanding of it until we watch the movie.The way one person sees a "crazy"person is different from the way another person sees them.

September 3,2011 | Unregistered CommenterPoppy

@ zn3v6 - i dont agree that the levels of hysteria that those roles required are comparable to Speilran's condition to be honest.Not even close.

@ caroline - this is an online space for discussion,no?a place to praise/criticise/defend ideas and concepts?I'm not bothered by award chances here.I just find it bewildering that people are complaining that her performance was not 'natural' and restrained when its clearly not a role that warrants such an approach.In the same vien,if a role which demands nuancy and subtleness is hammy and overdone I'd be concerned by that too.99% of the time I completely agree that naturilsm is the way to go,but not in this context.Personally,I'm glad that Cronenberg and his team didnt hold anything back when it comes to Speilran and it makes me respect him and Knightley even more.

September 3,2011 | Unregistered CommenterRose
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