Monday, December 12, 2005

where were you?

Asphalt angel

Perrrrfect! Perfect! Perfect weekend! Awesome in every way. I discovered a nugget of a film. A film I had not seen but even more wondrous, never heard of existing before. And you know what, Aha, from the same DVD library! This DVD library is extraordinary. Not only did I find there when I first joined the entire early great Italian cinema films, in the new batch of DVDS from last week, these guys have bought most of the 1960s French wave films. And would you believe it, some from the 1920s and 1930s! (God please, please grant me the calm to write about those films sometime soon!!) Within five minutes of Easy, I was cursing and laughing, wondering, asking myself again and again, how the fuck did Easy escape my new movie radar. And bugger me blind, if this wasn’t a 2003 release too! The answer was (!) easy. Easy is temperamentally English. Never mind that it was not directed by English film maker with English actors but nevertheless English. Something the all the pervasive Hollywood publicity machine ain’t ever going to promote. And what a loss it would have been!

There were many good vibes. Any movie that has in sex in the first seven minutes is going to have a redeeming feature. Easy had a full body on. And a movie with Naveen Andrews (in Easy as a Byronically sexy writer called John Kalicharan), so far, is going to be funny or interesting and since Easy promised Naveen was going to be a major character, they had me hooked. Naveen and I go back before Bride and Prejudice to The Budha of Surbabia and Mira Naira’s Kama Sutra(I hope I’ll be able to tell you about that one day because Naira’s Kama Sutra is stunning) where he’s a debauched woman crazy Raj—think Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean and Once Upon Time in Mexico; yes, he’s that good. Easy did not disappoint. Naveen was the guy in the, ahem, helm. (I wonder if he’s as good at it in real life as he seems in the movies?)

Naveen is a skilled scene stealer. Bride and Prejudice (updated Indian version of Jane Austen’s classic novel, Pride and Prejudice) is an okay film, would be a watch-and- forget film in fact. But for Naveen.
Every few minutes he is on the screen. Full of…I was going to say …indolent grace. But that’s not it. His grace is not indolent, if indolent means lazy. It’s more beguiling, like the tread of a big cat across a Savannah plain. This lion, leopard, cheetah (can’t yet decide which big cat he is) is slowly moving across a plain of land, almost sauntering as if without a care in the world, lazy looking, but you know it would not even take it a split second to explode suddenly into murderous speed. Yes! That’s it! That’s what Naveen’s acting has in plenty. His brooding is not romantically rosy, you get the feeling that it’s dangerous, he’s about to explode. He hasn’t yet but like Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire and The Godfather, with no evidence, you are in dread because you know you have on your hands a capped volcano. And the cap is coming off. (PS: Does anyone know anyone who knows where one can get Last Tango in Paris?) Good as I think Naveen is then though; Easy is the first movie where I watched him fail to be the lead star. Marguerite Moreau playing Jaime Harris is.

Until Easy, Moreau was the nice sounding name of some actress whose face I could never place. After Easy, that mistake will never happen again. Easy was made surely with Moreau in mind just as there can never be another Bridget Jones other than Rene Zellwegger. The pairing of film role and actress was seamless. Moreau here is playing a woman who has too much success with men. No, no, don’t turn away.

Jaime Harris’s problem is that when it comes to relationships, she is easy. Naveen doesn’t even need, technically, a first date to get her in bed. After they meet at his poetry book launch. No wonder she’s dumped this often. Yet we do not despise Jaime in spite of her misadventures. This is because of Marguerite Moreau’s special gift. Moreau, it is my pleasure to inform you, belongs to a new exciting generation of actresses that have IT. IT in the old Hollywood way. IT as in a quality that goes beyond mere good technical acting talent into something more. An inner light. Scarlett Johansson has IT. (Have you seen her in In Good Company, Girl with a Pearl Ear ring or The Love Song of Bobby Long? Bobby Long, that gutting greatness near miss. God, does Johansson have a face!) I’m not yet quite decided if Keira Knightley has IT but I know Moreau has IT. Moreau’s gift offering to us in Easy is to give us a glimpsing feel of the pain of her many breakups without deluging us with the messiness yet letting us see the funny side and laugh. Laughing but not laughing at her. Laughing at the memory of our own past breakups.

The other guy in Jaime’s life in Easy is this a Nick Hornby looking character played by Brian F. O’Byrne. The type of guy women like to give the line, “let’s be friends first” and he believes it. He does in the film too! And I absolutely don’t sympathize with him. (Shudder…I think it’s because he is bald and bland looking. Talk about judging people by their appearances!) And yes, when that primal scene comes, Mick at first does not disappoint my expectations though I don’t think Jaime in the blue bedroom would say the same. But this is the movies and everyone gets a second chance. If you can get up more than once in a single night. Pretty soon, Moreau is faced with the dilemma of choosing between two men who are crazy about her, and it is a dilemma, for unlike in most films of this kind, both men end up completely lovable. What Jaime does not know is that her gorgeous incredibly Nicole Kidman lookalike married sister Emily Deschanel (they have a close relationship) is waiting to snap up the man she makes a mistake of letting go, even temporarily.

Nicole Kidman's abandoned twin

From all of this I suspect that you’ll assume Easy is a fluffy chick film no man should get near. Let me tell you that you are right. If you are that type of man then let tell you that you’d also be missing an intelligent film, a grown up meditation on the nature of love: love of parents for their children, love of siblings, the new rules of love between men and women in a modern world. Suicide and living. I told you, this is one wise film. Easy is Closer with tact. And Jane Weinstock is a director on my watchlist.

Disclaimer: this take on Easy was written after 2pm under the influence of ten coffee cups (okay, twelve). And because there was no one in the other room.


Omni said...

I thought this was a pretty good movie; Naveen is a hottie. :-)

Jay said...

Maybe you could let me know which lib that is. I would like to get my hands on all those so called classics from the black and white era and see why everybody keeps waxing philosopicaly about them. Case in point can anyone direct me to Citizen Kane

Degstar said...

say, if ur lib has Casablanca - d greatest movie ever made - n Othello n My Fair Lady n d original Pride n Prejudice as well as Gone with the Wind + scarlett O'Hara, then we'll be talking.

baz said...

Degstar, which Othello? Yaani, which actors and director etc.

Degstar said...

dude UPDATE!

Degstar said...

gwe baz,
d Othello with Laurence Fishburne and ye olde English.

Iwaya said...

Omni: naveen actor

Jay: every day i think i'm closer to snagging a copy of citizen kane, the day i do, prepare for a 3000 wrd thesis, i have seen orson welles act, i think i'll be blown away by his film.

Degstar: but i was just watching casablanca, gone with the wind, roman holiday all on one dvd from that library a week ago!