Three Stars for Dylan's Glorious Language, But....
Randy Buck | Brooklyn, NY USA | 05/15/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"This adaptation itself is a pretty soggy affair. Ploddingly literal more often than not, giving you an image that matches exactly what the text is describing, though the occasional bad idea from director Andrew Sinclair makes you wish he'd stuck to ploddingly literal. The design of the film's a mess, as well; the villagers seem to wear fashions from 1918 or so through the 60's, with the latter hideous beyond belief. As in the equally misguided Burton/Taylor FAUSTUS, La Liz doesn't bother with period hair, make-up, costume, or an attempt at a characterization (although her Welsh gurgle has to be heard to be believed -- sounds like someone's strangling a cat). Presumably she had a nice location holiday during the shoot (although even that's not apparent from her dim, studio-bound scenes on display here). Veteran favorites like Vivien Merchant, Victor Spinetti, Sian Phillips and Glynis Johns aren't onscreen long enough to brighten the proceedings much. And the top-billed stars, Burton and O'Toole, alternate between blank stares and bouts of scenery-chewing. In spite of all these negatives, the film can't completely choke the life out of Thomas. His wit, poetry and passion for the smallest detail of everyday existence poke through, perhaps here with the bedraggled air of a daisy growing in a cement sidewalk, but bringing pleasure nonetheless. At least, the film's likely to send anyone stumbling across it at their DVD rental outlet racing to the library shelf to try and figure out what the devil THAT was supposed to be. And for such crumbs, we must be grateful."
Praise the Lord we are a musical nation !
Jacques COULARDEAU | OLLIERGUES France | 02/01/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"One day in a small village along the coast of Wales, a fishing harbour that is surviving in coming modernity that is going to destroy it and later on transform it. The film enables the director to create a real world extracted from Dylan Thomas's words, and the general description of the historical heritage of the village can be uttered by some guide on a bus half full of old ladies touristing around the country and the conclusion is the village can get levelled down no one would protest. That was a long time ago. Since then these small fishing villages on the Welsh coast have become seaside resorts for all kinds of rich people. Dylan Thomas tries to recreate the life of the village the way he remembers it. The film shifts the observing eye from the author to first a couple of unnamed male strangers going through the village and saying absolutely nothing, hence being pure creations in this film to focus especially on one observer, through whose ears and blind eyes we can discover everything, Captain Cap. This is also a great shift in the point of view of the poem. The medium is the message and the camera imposes its own point of view. I will definitely say it is a good thing to visualize the poem that is otherwise difficult to follow, but at the very same time it is imposing one interpretation, one reading onto the poem, a linear reading that does not accept contradictions and multifariousness. Personally I think a poem should not be visualized on a screen. It must remain language. A recording of this language is already reducing the number of possible readings, but it cannot really reduce it to one reading. Images often do because no matter what you may say, it is them that will come out first and last, dominant, number one. You may call a fish a cat, it will be what the image says and if the image is that of a fish, it will not be a cat. Whereas the word can accept metaphorical transpositions and displacements and even distortions. Images do not accept metaphors very easily except through ellipses, which are more metonymies than matephors, whereas words can easily express sleepless green ideas that sleep furiously. Yet the film is interesting because the editing makes us jump from one place to so many others with hardly one blink of one eye that we get a little bit dizzy and that is supposed to create in us a certain nostalgic feeling for the past, the long gone and forgotten and lost past.
Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University of Paris Dauphine & University of Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne
Plays better As Theatre
Adrian Kiaser | Sydney, Australia | 08/06/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
Cast and production are fine given the material which still doesnt stand up in time to the medium of film.
Having portrayed parts in same production for stage it played much better even though the dialouge for a just trained actor caused me much greif until finally by performance night it took-off and an extended season ensued. A Successful financial-run in email@example.com I feel based on the originalmaterial that was somewhat edited down was far superior albeit in theater form with cast of unknowns and expertly directed by Glenn Terry whom knew and understood the script, while I had never read nor was familiar with the lyrical and poetic dialouge just how well it has been done since.
But Film is a different medium and therfore by comparrison only still has this been done more successfully on stage and it goes without saying no big names are required to breathe life into this somewhat repressed and semi-dark daydreams of a small-village town druggery gone mad if not the dialouge is beautifully spouted if not harder to enact and speak to audiences unfamiliar with Dylan Thomas works of "Under Milkwood"