Friday, April 7, 2017

BY THE SEA (2015)



Written & Directed By: Angelina Jolie Pitt 
Cinematography By: Christian Berger 
Editor: Martin Pensa & Patricia Rommel 

Cast: Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt, Melaine Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup, Richard Bohringer 

Set in France during the mid-1970s, Vanessa, a former dancer, and her husband Roland, an American writer, travel the country together. They seem to be growing apart, but when they linger in one quiet, seaside town they begin to draw close to some of its more vibrant inhabitants, such as a local bar/café-keeper and a hotel owner.

Glad i took the time to watch this film more later rather then sooner. Considering what has happened in real life to both of them. I watched it before their break-up, but it's hard not to watch this film And not think of them or at least what we know of them from publicity and interviews.

One of the marketing tools of the movie especially In hindsight if their recent real life break-up. Is to wonder was this a thinly veiled version of their relationship? Does it deal with issues of their relationship only made more vivid?

While at first the film might come off as Just another film for them to work together professionally again. Especially after the success of their last film together MR. & MRS. SMITH which caused a bunch of controversy. As it is supposedly the film where they fell in love and was a huge box office success. Though that could also be a symptom of it being an audience friendly big-budget action comedy. I still To this day have never seen it.

Though the film is not as market friendly. As it is a relationship drama really melodrama. Where Angelina Jolie shows off her writing-directing and acting skills. Using herself and her husband as the muse.

This film was a rush from the start. As it wasn't as well publicized and seemed more like an Oscar season attempt. Where the trailer and commercials were there to make audiences aware of the film, but stayed very vague. Just as the film stays that way for stretches of it.

The film feels too artistic for a mainstream crowd. Though has a sizable budget and is filled with two movie stars who seem to be slumming or begging for an audience. As they have something to prove. A depth neither has shown in a while.

As from the advertisements the film doesn't look all that compelling. It comes off more as a vanity project. It also seem that with Angelina Jolie directed films that are more studio releases she seems to take gritty stories and gives them a gloss that seems to take the power away from them.

Filmed on the island of Gozo, part of the Mediterranean country of Malta. The film has beautiful picturesque locations. That appear regularly to either natives of that land or people who can afford it.

This film seems more all about beauty in plain sight. Though purely only on the surface. Rotting or at least spoiling underneath. In need of healing. Real life known couples working together. It necessarily successful. For every MADE IN AMERICA and WHO IS AFRAID OF VIRGINA WOLFE. There is a GIGLI. Even if in all those movies it wasn't written and directed by the stars also. MADE IN AMERICA worked though bad, but Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg were a new couple and controversy followed them. As news always followed them especially after their friar's club scandal. And also the film had an interesting premise. WHO'S AFRAID OF VIRGINIA WOLFE the material was great and even acclaimed. The film was made when movie stars were still worshipped, plus Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were so combustable there real life love story was so varied and eventful. It played out publicly and rivaled written move love stories. So the audience wondered was it like the film at home for them?. Thinly veiled as it felt like watching that film was like voyeurism. Watching a celebrity couple work Together offered clues of some sort. Some kind of truth, openness and vulnerability as they let their guard down and touched upon something in each of them and together.

Maybe it's the same as Angelina Jolie's and Brad Pitt as they are so private maybe the same wonder is there for modern audiences. It this what they Are like at home? And the audience is finally getting a chance to be voyeuristic with them. Two private people even as celebrities normally go. Plus we wonder do they still have chemistry? Seeing their in screen relationship like a comparability test. Trying to read it like an astrology chart. Movie stardom isn't what it used to be. Putting them together doesn't always equal box office, it is more dependent on material, quality at times. Now there are shorter attention spans and we are inflicted with celebrity news all the time now.

The film feels more like an indulgence, made to satisfy the publicist fascination with the lead actors real life romantic relationship and playing into it to a degree with a version of themselves that allows them to play dress up. Almost like Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor.

The film that seems made for those who read and swear by VANITY FAIR magazine. As the film is beautifully photographed dream like romantic vacation.

The film gives us the tried and true message or insight that though appearing to be in paradise and not being able to enjoy it and take full advantage of the beauty and ambiance that the film immersed is in as it is a visual delight of style and wardrobe with a hushed melodramatic middle ingredient. It feels like a throwback in that way as we watch beautiful people with problems frolic, in a place the audience can only dream of visiting and watch them be unhappy there. Most major conversations revolve around relationships or about them. They all around them. He must have the soulful job of being a writer. Where you ask do these people have anything else going in their lives. That they seem to obsess or let this take out their emotions so much.

Especially from two box office superstars can see why studio would find this in hopes of Oscar talks as this is the most soulful, vulnerable and open we have seen Angelina Jolie in a long time. She seems to come off Cold, soulless not too much talking Lost in thoughts or Staring off having a longing

Brad Pitt as a writer spends most of his time at a bar watching and coming up with ideas. Looking cool and drinking but clearly searching for something and covering up his emotions by drinking.

The film has to do with images and what truly lies beneath as we don't know what came. Score for them or after. All we see is a moment in time with them. Though the past is alluded to.

The film probably wouldn't be as interesting if they didn't star in it. As it feels empty to a degree. Pretentious her tries to play cool and be takes as depth. The stars Impress by speaking French throughout intermedently with supporting characters. So that it’s almost like a foreign film in it's design and presentation, Not to mention emotional landscape. The film is very indulgent. As it is taking interest in love.

It is different watching Angelina Jolie age out from the temptress she once was looking frail physically as she ends up being emotionally but ferocious all together. Even as she has her hair done and make up lacquered on. But missing her curves while dressed immaculately or in just a nice slip. Which is how the film is also looks pretty but is missing something or out of tune on the inside. Face hardened like sculpted from flesh and marble. Her sexual realization, release and medication. She ends up becoming sexier and more attractive as the film goes along.

Angelina Jolie’s character becomes fascinated with watching and spying on their neighbors a younger couples of French newlyweds. Then spying on the young couple usually having sex turns them on and is a release for the repression they have going on in their own room and that they bond over. This spying as an event that brings them closer to one another.

As they seem to live vicariously though them. They are feeding off the younger couple and their energy like aging vampires. Which is how they conduct themselves at times being so closed off. or learning lessons becoming inspired by them.

We watch how the world comes crashing around them as they either are attempted to be seduced or try to indulge themselves with the couple to either destroy or partake in them. To justify their actions.

Don't know when it is set but the location makes it seem likes throwback to the 1950's, 60's or 70's. trying to have a timeless quality but also seems like a romantic postcard where you know everything is not alright or not quite what it seems. The dialogue spoken even feels like timely clichéd melodrama.

As it seems to try and showcase the quiet moments of a couple being together as well as more the everyday competition bents and very few of the highlights. At least in the first half as in the second half sex and intimacy come into the picture as it is a component. Even with a brief love scene and nudity it is rarely sensual or erotic. No matter how much nudity it sex is shown and always lenses artfully. It still comes off. More as romantic and soft core. It feels like it takes forever to get to the point could have been shorter and might have had a bigger impact. Taking long takes to show the natural beauty of untouched landscapes. Leaving it like taking glimpses or snapshots of the past and reliving them.

The film takes a risk yet still seems shallow. Was hoping for something shocking or at least different to happen to give purpose or give the film and audience reasoning for sitting through all of this. A payoff of some sort to make it more noteworthy. As it comes off as dull many times by the manner of dressing up the uninteresting.

Only a scene near end that results in violence feels ingenuine visual and action wife jealous of what they have like an outcast feel different from who she is supposed to be. Especially as in the film she is a glamorous former actress. Gorgeous looking but feels the passion and energy of a film like YOUTH or which looks great has a bare story that is melodramatic but still feels alive and inventive though it Know it's shallow also as she plays the victim and problem totally making Brad Pitt look more the heroic. Suffering to save them both. Seemingly looking like a later day lost Robert Redford, Jane Fonda romantic drama of the 1970's. directed by a European remade. With a so called artistic indulgence. As it plays like three films directed in different genres all the let the fanfare only one considered for the most part conventional mainstream. This is her most assured film so far that she has directed and also performance wise.

Took so long so he can finally finish writing his book where it is hinted at might be about what we are watching.

I wanted to like the film. I just found it not to be my cup of tea. Even as the film tries to take some risks. Can see how others might be fans and respect this film.

It comes off more as miniature travelogue that involves a photo shoot designed by Chanel.

GRADE: C

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