Thursday, May 10, 2012
Film Club Review #13
How to explain the anomaly that is Midnight in Paris? Because lets be honest here, Allen has been in severe decline for over a decade now. The last two of his films I’ve seen where Match Point and Vicky Christina Barcelona, the former a travesty the latter mildly diverting but lightweight and forgettable. (And the trailer for To Rome With Love makes it look heart-sinkingly bad). And yet, here this is, a gem, a throwback to Allen’s heyday, a film that could have been made in the 1980s, sandwiched between The Purple Rose of Cairo and Radio Days. Sure it's cozy and soft-focused and doesn't engage with reality very much but none of that matters. The fantasy prevails. Owen Wilson was born to be an Allen surrogate and Adrian Brody’s Dali is arguably the best five minutes of his entire career. The message of the film, that every generation romantisises previous times, that these 'golden ages' almost certainly didn't feel special to the people living them, yearning as they were for their own idealised pasts, is undermined by the experience of the film itself. Paris of the 20s does seem golden here, an endless party, a moveable feast, full of larger-than-life characters and mysterious muses, a young man's dream of artistic nirvana revisited. It glows with sweet wonder.