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Tanner D. (TD) from DES MOINES, IA
Reviewed on 2/16/2012...
Richard J. Lewis' adaptation of the Giller Prize winning novel written by Mordecai Richler proves to be an uneven, if not polarizing film. As the audience is introduced to Barney, the title character, and begins to understand him and his story, the lack of compassion they feel match the character's ineptitude towards his own well-being and attitude to others. Eventually, the film gets picks up steam where Barney meets his "the one" in Miriam played by a very authentically fragile Rosamund Pike. Here, Barney's character played impeccably by a charismatic Paul Giamatti begins to lose his trite sense of self and momentarily trades nonchalance with glowing warmth. Through multiple chains of events, and an unexpected development, viewers are taken on a mildly enjoyable story through a man's eyes as his actions and inactions culminate into what has and has not become his life. Though some sequences are difficult to digest with anger and sadness while others are sauteed with humor and good cheer, the film conclusively cannot find an identity for itself and is greatly reliant on its terrific leads. While I felt, at times, mild remorse and happiness for Barney's character, there was too much emotional disjoint at the beginning of the film to ultimately mirror his outcome and the film seemingly attempted to mirage or even artificially cultivate those feelings through a course of brief, sorrowful soundtracks or use of arty mise en scene. Barney's version is likeable and, if nothing else, cinemaniacs should watch it for Giamatti's passion filled performance, but expecting much more may end up blurring your experience.
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