Archive for the ‘John Crowley’ Category

The Cunning Art of Thievery

The Goldfinch

Director: John Crowley

Cast: Oakes Fegley, Ansel Elgort, Nicole Kidman, Jeffrey Wright, Luke Wilson, Sarah Paulson, Willa Fitzgerald, Anuerin Barnard, Finn Wolfhard, Luke Kleintank, Denis O’Hare

Irish director John Crowley (Brooklyn) brings to cinematic life Donna Tart’s immersive and poignant Pulitzer Prize winning novel The Goldfinch in a sprawling and beautifully acted film version featuring an international cast including Oscar winner Nicole Kidman (The Hours) as Mrs Barbour, a wealthy Park Avenue woman who graciously takes in the young Theo Decker brilliantly played by Oakes Fegley, after his mother is killed in a terrorist attack at New York’s famous Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Theo having survived a thoroughly traumatic event, is introduced to the extremely wealthy Barbour family who he stays with while he awaits to hear from his wayward con-artist father Larry played by Luke Wilson (The Royal Tenenbaums, Concussion, 3:10 to Yuma). Larry eventually swoops in with his hard as nails girlfriend Xandra expertly played by Golden Globe winner Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story) to whisk Theo off to the brilliant shiny desert of Nevada away from the old world charm of New York City.

As The Goldfinch expertly weaves multiple story lines into a dazzling picaresque tale, it is more essentially about Theo’s friendship with the mysterious antique dealer Hobie beautifully played by Jeffrey Wright (Skyfall).

The Goldfinch is gorgeously photographed in all its blinding contrasts by Oscar winning cinematographer Roger Deakins (Blade Runner: 2049) who adds lustre to a fascinating tale of a boy who inadvertently steals a priceless Dutch painting by 17th century portrait painter Carel Fabritius a budding young student of Rembrandt.

As the actions flits between, New York, Las Vegas and Amsterdam, The Goldfinch is a gripping, fascinating tale of art theft, addiction and loss as the film examines the effects of parental loss on a young boy. Utterly superb viewing. Audiences should watch out for a rather energetic performance by Dunkirk star Anuerin Barnard as the older version of Ukrainian Gothic friend Boris who plays an integral part in achieving his destiny which is inevitably entwined with a rare painting by an early Dutch master. The older version of Theo Decker is adequately played by rising star Ansel Elgort (Baby Driver, Billionaire Boys Club).

Elegant and absorbing, with stunning performances, The Goldfinch is a sophisticated drama about the conflicts between the old and new world and the shadows that lie in between. Those that have read Donna Tartt’s brilliant novel will appreciate this gorgeous film adaptation.

Highly recommended viewing, The Goldfinch gets a film rating of 8.5 out of 10.

Navigating the New World

Brooklyn

brooklyn_ver2

Director: John Crawley

Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emory Cohen, Jim Broadbent, Julie Walters, Domhnall Gleeson, Emily Bett Rickards, Jessica Pare, Maeve McGrath, Eileen O’Higgins

After her sparkling debut as the precocious and misguided Briony Tallis in director Joe Wright’s handsome film Atonement, Oscar nominee Saoirse Ronan has made a string of less memorable films including Hanna and The Host until appearing as the radiant lead in this 1950’s love story Brooklyn, where she dazzles as the Irish immigrant Eilis fresh on arrival in New York City.

Director John Crawley’s adaptation of the novel by Irish author Colm Toibin Brooklyn is a soft-focused, brilliantly acting and utterly charming love story. Ronan is superb as Eilis who arrives in the Big Apple and stays at a ladies boarding house run by the ever glamourous Mrs Kehoe wonderfully played by Julie Walters (Billy Elliott).

brooklyn

Soon the sensible Eilis befriends the other guests and while working at an American department store is guided by the fashionable manageress Miss Fortini played by French Canadian actress Jessica Pare who brought added style to the final two seasons of Mad Men.

At an Irish club Friday night social, Eilis meets the charming and dimple-faced Tony, an Italian immigrant, played by Emory Cohen (The Place beyond the Pines). Their initial courtship is cut short when Eilis has to unexpectedly return to Ireland for a family emergency. Back in the Green Isle, she is wooed by the handsome and eligible bachelor Jim Farrell played by Domhnall Gleeson (Anna Karenina, About Time, and Shadow Dancer) in the weeks leading up to her school friend Nancy’s wedding.

Director John Crawley and acclaimed screenwriter Nick Hornby (About a Boy, An Education) do an excellent rendition of making a good old fashioned love story in the manner of Mona Lisa Smile, Circle of Friends and is ably assisted by Saoirse Ronan superbly acting in the lead role, as her character Eilis navigates all the nuances and difficulties of life in the New World.

Audiences should look out for Oscar winner Jim Broadbent (Iris) as the benevolent father Flood as well as Emily Bett Rickards as the cheeky companion Patty last seen on the hit TV show Arrow.

Brooklyn with its gorgeous production design, immaculate 1950’s costumes is reminiscent of a less complicated old fashioned love stories and will definitely find an appreciative audience, judging by how packed the cinema was on a Sunday afternoon. Recommended viewing for those that cherished films such as Circle of Friends, Mona Lisa Smile and more recently The Immigrant starring Marion Cotillard.

 

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