Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Wackness: Village East, Now Playing

Jonathan Levine's The Wackness is really good - why aren't people talking about it more? Just for starters, the three sex scenes between Josh Peck and Olivia Thirlby are among the sharpest and most sensitive ever put on film. Levine has a unique sensibility: tough-talking, almost hard-boiled, yet so emotive that his characters flirt with disintegration. How many directors could make a teenage protagonist self-possessed enough to play scenes with armed drug-dealers, and still have him whimper with pleasure in the arms of his far more experienced girlfriend? Certainly Levine is the best American director of actors to come along in a while.

The film has been playing since July 3 and is now down to two screens in one theater, the Village East.


Eric said...

I did like The Wackness (you did a bit more than me I can tell), and I too figured that it would be a bigger film than it ended up being. Angelika opened it on three screens its first weekend, and I watched it dwindle down slowly, and starting this weekend Village East has it down to one. I thought it would linger for months, one of those films like 2 Days in Paris or La Vie en Rose that just resides in the Angelika for months and months.

Ben Kingsley was fantastic in it, and it was this film and Elegy out of the five or so he appeared in this summer that stood out for me.

Dan Sallitt said...

Eric - I thought the acting was really good across the board, down to the supporting cast. There was a lot of big expression, big gesture, but always a serious emotion at the bottom of the scenes, and an overall nimbleness that kept the big scenes from getting too emphatic.

Vadim said...

Deeply curious how your experiments with David Lean are turning out. I must admit I never thought to see you show up for those.

Anonymous said...

Awesome movie!!!

Dan Sallitt said...

Vadim - okay, I'll post something on Lean in a separate post. I'm certainly no authority.

Beyondmusic - it's possible that I'm a little out of step with my favorite bloggers and critics in my evaluation of genre films like The Wackness (or Michael Clayton). With full-blown art films, I'm more sympathetic to current critical taste. But when my radar detects a filmmaker turning an established entertainment form to his or her aesthetic advantage, I often don't feel the love from the critic community.

Anonymous said...

I totally forgot the Ben Kingsly was in this film. I'm a huge fan of his work and will definitely check this one out as soon as i get the chance.