Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Condemnation: Stone

Oh John Curran what have you done?!  The director of the much admired (by me) The Painted Veil's next film has been released on home video, and I have finally caught up with it.  After the revelation that was The Painted Veil I had insanely high expectations for Stone even though I admit I had no interest in the logline of the film.  I should've skipped this film because despite the first scene and one horrifying one in the middle it was a complete waste of my time.  This may be one of the most boring films I've ever seen.

Now, don't yell at me!  I LIKE slow-burn.  I love 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days which is ALL slow-burn.  I love Sofia Coppola films which are always lazy walks through character's lives.  Even The Painted Veil is a very slow-moving film.  I prefer a film to saunter along and give me time to bathe in it than a film to move along at such a clip that for 2 hours I feel like my brain is being scrambled!  But the former films are riveting, and this is the exact opposite.  Curran can't decide whether he's making a procedural or a philosophical discourse, and they seem so mismatched that neither works and the whole film plods along under the weight of a story that has failed after 25 minutes.  The first scene setting up DeNiro's character and his character's wife's relationship gives the film much promise, but it never capitalizes on that first scene's promise.  There's another scene where Norton's character watches a man in the prison get shanked and brutally murdered whilst cross-cutting another piece of action (that is spoilery), and that scene is the first one that came along and made me not dead behind the eyes.  Is that a total of maybe 7 minutes in a 104 minute film?  Not enough to make this worthwhile.

I give Curran credit for getting Edward Norton and DeNiro to do a film where they get to act off of each other for 2 hours because that was very promising, and both actors give fine performances.  But those performances, like the rest of the film, is nothing to write home about.  Milla Jovovich has perhaps proved herself a worthy actress for the first time, but I don't care because the film is such a snooze.  The film is even well-shot!  But even that can't brake it's inevitable doom.

Such a disappointment!

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