Yesterday I saw Rush and About Time.
Rush is easily the better film and flies by in its run time – and I don’t even like cars.
I am, unfortunately for my teenage self, someone who doesn’t give a flying fig how a car looks or “feels” and I certainly don’t watch three overpaid men talk about cars on publicly-funded television every week of a certain period of the year.
I did, however, enjoy Rush; both lead characters were well drawn and well acted [brilliantly in the case of Daniel Bruhl] and the whole thing gained both my empathy and my attention throughout; I’m surprised by the similarities in cinematography in this to that which I saw in Senna a couple of years ago but then that is the look of F1 so it makes a good deal of sense. Could there be an F1 film or documentary without it? Perhaps but it would take another relationship like the touted rivalry between Lauda and Hunt to make that film as fast and as enjoyable. What Ron Howard brought to this was a sense of ease in the direction as well as the look and feel. Very, very enjoyable – 7.5/10.
About Time on the other hand is a very weird watch. For all its time travel, it doesn’t fly by. It drags.
I, like all hopeful cynics, have a gooey centre – something Richard Curtis films prod. Regularly. With surprising effectiveness, really. However, during About Time, I actually squirmed.
The entirety of the first half which details the central figure’s attempts to make a woman fall in love with him [by manipulating time] honestly made me feel like I was watching a very weird, very awkward, and very unfunny man [in a first half with those same qualities] attempt to perfect his own life at the detriment of others by the crudest, most selfish, most unconsciously entitled actions I’ve ever seen. What’s weird is that I like Domhnall Gleeson as an actor – he was easily alongside the cinematography as the best thing in Anna Karenina – and I like Amy Adams. I even, at a turn, like Four Weddings and A Funeral but About Time is manipulative in both character and direction.
It’s manipulative in direction because as soon as it’s first half is done and we’re kinda on side with the lead and their fairly charming life, something happens which makes you unable to not empathize with the weasel actions of the lead. Bill Nighy is fun in this and, as such, you can’t not like his character but I was beholden to enjoy and empathize with the situation because the whole thing felt manipulative. Were it not for the performances and, what I want to be, a good heart at the centre of the film, it would really be given much less in my estimations. As it is, its saving graces save it fro a fiery burning death.
I’ve given the title to this post ‘Rushing a film’ because it’s possible that that’s exactly what Richard Curtis has done with the development of this film. From idea to finish, perhaps no-one had time to think, Wait. Could this be seen as kinda skeezy?
I certainly think sections of About Time are, no matter how sweet its heart is.