Monday, October 10, 2011

London

By Sati. Monday, October 10, 2011 , , , , , ,
(92 min, 2005)
Director: Hunter Richards
Writer: Hunter Richards
Stars: Jessica Biel, Chris Evans and Jason Statham
 
The greatest conversation you'll ever have is with a stranger.

In New York, Syd (Chris Evans) is consumed by drinks and drugs - missing his girlfriend London (Jessica Biel), who broke up with him six months ago after a two-year relationship. When Syd finds out that London's friends throw a going away party for her, he decides to go to the party without an invitation. But first he meets the banker Bateman (Jason Statham), in a bar to buy coke, and he invites his new acquaintance to go to the party with him. While locked in the bathroom with Bateman snorting coke and drinking booze, Syd recalls moments of his relationship with London

If Woody Allen was born in late seventies or early eighties, in 2005 he would make the exact same movie. That was the first thought I had after seeing “London”. And for the last 30 minutes of film I had an intense feeling of shame as Jason Statham's fangirl – because I really underestimated his talent. And the punishment for that was the state of utter shock and amazement after the movie's most powerful scene.

This is the film that is dialogue-driven. And the dialogues are fantastic – the comparison to Allen comes from the fact that the subjects the movie touches are the same – sex, relationships, life, emptiness, God. It takes really amazing dialogues to keep you interested for 90 minutes of the movie – and the conversations the characters have are so interesting you don't have chance to be bored for even a second. The film largely takes place in one apartment, but it features flashbacks of character's experiences, mostly Syd and London's relationship, which tie in with party events nicely.

The people in the movie are more realistic equivalent of grotesque creatures that would be the result of the cross between Bret Easton Ellis's spoiled characters and Allen's charming neurotics. Except those people, who at first seem to be spoiled because they only care about drugs and booze, who seem to be charming neurotics because of the topics of their discussions and witty jokes, will turn out to have serious issues and show audience their souls before the movie is over.

Syd and London are not sweet, likeable or even decent people. But that's what makes them a perfect match. He is obsessed, jealous and terribly pessimistic. He's also an atheist who can't stand the fact that there are believers on this Earth. She's a lair, hysteric and whines because he didn't say “I love you” yet. We don't have to like them, but we want them to be together. Are they even in love? It's hard to say - they argue all the time when they're together. But they are even in worse state of mind when they are apart. And the ending...it's realistic and because of that the movie only gains points.

Other characters on the party include people in main room where Bateman sneaks in for drinks and girls who go into bathroom to talk to the guys and snort some coke. I especially loved the character of Maya, who is incredibly funny and charming. I had an intense feeling I knew that girl from somewhere. Turns out it's lovely Kelli Garner who played Margo in “Lars and the real girl”.

But the movie and the story are carried by Bateman. Everything he says is either completely hilarious or brilliant. Fascinating character – he masks his issues so well, he has the strength to actually go out of his apartment and face the world in spite of his problems. He is 20 years older than Syd and maybe because of that he doesn't spend his time crying in the bathroom. He does the only thing he can – tries to overcome his problems and move on.

If it wasn't for him, the huge amount of laugh he brings and Statham's performance the movie would not be half that good. It seems everything what was the best went to this character. Somewhere around 1 hour mark Bateman will stop telling juicy anecdotes and repeating his hilarious catchphrase “fucking horrendous” and he will tell the complete truth about his life. Around this time you will ask yourself how come Statham doesn't do more movies like this, given that his delivery and genuine-looking rage made it pretty much the most powerful scene I've seen all year.

My favorite Allen's movie is “Anything Else”. I know – how dare I? After all, there is “Annie Hall”. “Manhattan”. “Husbands and Wives”. But I'm 21 and Allen has become more modern in recent years, which makes his movies even more fun to watch for me. There is a scene in “Anything Else” that takes place during the party and Moby is playing in the background (unusually modern choice of music for Allen, as well). Well, “London” is like extended version of this scene – great music (the soundtrack largely consists of The Crystal Method's songs), lots of drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, attractive girls and mostly – wealthy, lost, unhappy people who try to forget about their unhappiness.

The movie is fantastic. The response it got was largely negative, which I can't understand. Maybe it's because there is no way to classify it – it's not a comedy, but it's not a drama either. It has both hilarious and sometimes overwhelming and heartbreaking scenes. But it's worth seeing for great, dense atmosphere, created out of cigarette smoke, electronic music in the background and classy interiors, fantastic and memorable dialogues and performances which, in case of every actor in the movie, are better than you could expect.

75/100

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