Friday, July 01, 2005

The Barbarian Invasions (2003)

You Forgot Cheeky!!!

Genre: Drama Comedy (Canada, France)

Starring: Rémy Girard (Les Boys; Montréal Vu Par...), Stéphane Rousseau

Directed By: Denys Arcand (Jesus De Montréal; Decline of the American Empire)

Overview: In this loose sequel to Decline of the American Empire, a son visits his terminally ill father, gathering his father's intellectual friends to his side, where they discuss sex, life, and the ever still declining American Empire.

Acting: This troupe of French-Canadian actors are long time veterans. I remember them from back when I was young, watching sitcoms and dramas at my grandmother's house. From time to time it felt overly scripted and the director should have done a few more takes, but this was the same if the first one too. The 'a touch removed from regular conversation' script made this banter a little hard to swallow at times, but the actual interactions between characters during the more 'real' moments was great.
Rating: 7

Cinematography: The camerawork was professional and did well not distracting from the story, though seeing the beauty of the lake the way Rémy remembered it would have been a nice thing to get through to the audience. A few more nature scenes for a man who remembers the cottage fondly would have made it better, but good stuff nonetheless.
Rating: 7

Script: The script, as aforementioned, was a little forced. The scenes where all the friends were together and talking as a group seemed more like a display for the audience than an actual bunch of friends sitting around together talking as a group. It could have been a bit more realistic, but the point gets across in the one-on-one scenes. The translation suffers a little though, from the colloquial lingos and inuendoes that you may miss here and there, but for some reasons all the witty puns managed to stay strong even in English, which I found rather interesting.
Rating: 7

Plot: The plot is human drama, a man afraid of dying, let alone dying alone. As for the "Nathalie the junkie" sub-plot, helping a father's pain and skirting corruptedly around hospital union members and administrators, beautiful. A good ending, a solid story with a decent amount of sub-plots that parallel the overall theme very well.
Rating: 8

Mood: The mood is best captured as nostalgic. Being French-Canadian, there was a touch of the "I remember" feelings from childhood. This film isn't that cliquey though, it was nominated for an Oscar though I don't remember if they won anything. As for what you'll think of the overall mood, the scenes with hospital administration, the moments reminiscing about old movie starlets and that dialogue with the drug dealer made for a decent story with a solid focus.
Rating: 7

And not one single Visigoth in the bunch!

Overall Rating: 72% (Enjoyable)

Aftertaste: When this came out in theaters, everyone asked me if I had heard of it, if they should see it, if the hype was all it should be, and I reminded them that I found Decline of the American Empire rather boring. Adding a real humanist plot and not talking so much about America did this sequel wonders. I never would have rented this movie, but Movies On Demand came through for me again, allowing me to satify my curiosity without paying for it. This movie will appeal to an older demographic than Gen X, but I liked it fine.