Sunday, September 13, 2015
A LIFE LESS ORDINARY (1997)
Directed By: Danny Boyle
Written By: John Hodge
Cinematography By: Brian Tufano
Editor: Masahiro Hirakubo
Cast: Ewan McGregor, Cameron Diaz, Delroy Lindo, Holly Hunter, Maury Chaykin, Stanley Tucci, Ian Holm, Ian McNeice, Dan Hedaya, Tony Shaloub, Timothy Olyphant, Judith Ivey, Christopher Gorham
Ewan McGregor stars as a cleaning man in L.A. who takes his boss' daughter hostage after being fired and replaced by a robot. Two "angels" who are in charge of human relationships on earth, offer some unsolicited help to bring this unlikely couple together.
This film is surprisingly graphically violent in some scenes. That adds to the unpredictable nature of this film. Which offers many surprises as it almost seems to make itself up as it goes along and changes tone when he mood strikes. Whenever the film seems to come to a breaking point, It seems to resolve itself by getting even crazier.
The film usually stays bright and hopeful. When trying to keep a cynical edge. The film at items seems to want to be a throwback or homage to those hopelessly romantic films of yesteryear. Yet including a few crimes to it's roster to be a couple on the run film. I believe another reason for it might be to keep the male audience interested and keep the story moving forward, with all these capers and dangerous situations they find themselves in, to in effect challenge them and once they make it through their bond being strengthened.
The film is already far-fetched, when it gets to he guardian angels. Posing as hit men to bring the two protagonists together.
The film seems like a pop-art valentine to the Midwest. That tires to be surreal and add a bit of pulp that makes it feel overstuffed on style.
The story doesn't matter as you are supposed to be transfixed by the actions of the characters and the colorful backgrounds.
Though too quirky an off kilter for it's own good. It stays visually arresting throughout. Which helps us in the audience stay interested, when it occasionally goes off the tracks.
This film seemed to come and go after the success of TRAINSPOTTING. This seems more like a temptation film for his seems more like a temptation film for Director Danny Boyle. As with his previous films surprise success. Major film studios probably offered the filmmaker the moon to be in business with him and any dream project they could hook up as their sensibilities could be trusted as far as success. Boyle flirted with making ALIEN RESSURECTION. Before him and his screenwriter John Hodge came up with this concoction. Which truly tested the studios whims as Ewan McGregor gets his first American starring role and gets to co-star with the rising young Ingénue at the time Cameron Diaz. as this was his director Danny Boyle's first studio film. It seems that he fills the film with an daring experimentalism that he is known for. As well as a low rent looking production. Though he also seems to ass what fascinates him about America or at least American film. Musical sequences, a love story, a crime story, an underdog story, heaven and fate. As well as lovers on the run. He chooses to expose it through candy colored lenses and backgrounds that start off murky. Yet soon are as colorful as the characters try to be
Diaz seems to try hard to be her bitchy cynical character with a dark heart and finds success in the role.
McGregor seems more uneasy and this being one of his earliest role seems like a preview of what is to come. As he has the leading man looks, but excels more at the quirks of the character. Which would help define his career as more of a character actor. Who occasionally gets leading man roles and does fine in them.
It’s interesting as McGregor’s character is constantly more the Damsel in Distress as he fails upwards, Yet always seems to think and act like he is in charge. It is obvious that Diaz is the one calling the shots throughout. Even when she is vulnerable, he seems to misread the situation.
Julia Roberts was considered for the role of Celine. Although Brad Pitt did meet with Danny Boyle and producer Andrew MacDonald, the lead part was written with Ewan McGregor specifically in mind. Sure it would have been a fine first pairing to set them up for their Eventual film together THE MEXICAN and would have had more scenes together than in that film.
Strangely as the film goes on no matter how mad it seems to get. You never feel lost.
I believed this film has a strange premise, yet still went to see it in theaters. As I had gone to see SHALLOW GRAVE and TRAINSPOTTING when they first came out in theaters and loved them. So since director Danny Boyle was on a hot streak and never ceased to amaze me. I had to see this film on it's opening weekend. Plus I liked the cast. Though nothing prepared me for what I witnessed. Which is styled yet so freewheeling. It's hard to gage the film entirely, but it can't help but put a smile on your face. Despite it's problems. It’s hard to get mad as it is obviously a farce.
It's like a puppy that poops on the floor. You are mad, but you see how cute it is and It’s hard to stay that way. Think the sour bears patch kids
Though it keeps up the tradition of Danny Boyle always not only managing to surprise the audience and liven up the mundane, but also presenting what might at first seem simple, but is quite intricate in a different way.
The film has a great soundtrack. That ends up being one of the films more endearing qualities. That goes with it’s quirky characters and inventive yet caged visuals.