Published on November 20th, 2015 | by Neil Jordan0
By The Sea
Greetings & Salutations Everyone!
Today, we have yet another film that strays from ‘the norm’. A film that not only stars one of the most beloved celebrity couples on the planet but also harkens back to the Italian dramatic films of the late 1960s/early 70s. It most definitely qualifies as an ‘art house’ film.
Since the world saw Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt together in ‘Mr. & Mrs. Smith’ it has awaited the day when the couple would appear together again in another film. Although it’s not the sequel to THAT film many had hoped for, it is most definitely and intriguing look at how the couple appear together in a movie in a completely genre with the creative control Angelina had.
‘By the Sea’ stars Angelina Jolie Pitt, Brad Pitt, Mélanie Laurent, Melvil Poupaud, Niels Arestrup, and Richard Bohringer. The film was also written, directed, and co-produced by Angelina with Brad Pitt serving as co-producer.
The film opens in the south of France in the mid-1970s. Roland (Brad Pitt), a writer from New York City and his wife Vannessa (Angelina Jolie Pitt), a former dancer, have traveled to a seaside town to quote,”Get away from it all”. Their marriage is strained and there is a distance between the two that is sometimes obvious to those around them and hidden at other times. The trip is clearly an effort by them to reconnect with one another but they spend much of their time apart once they get settled. Rolland is attempting to write another book but he cannot find anything as inspiration and Vanessa is using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain of a recent trauma. When they’re not spending their time alone they associate with some of the towns more colorful characters including the local barkeeper/cafe owner, the hotel manager, and a newlywed couple who are spending their honeymoon not only in the same town but in the room next door. One night, just when it seems like the strain of their marriage will finally snap a bizarre occurrence in their hotel room leads to a reconnection despite its volatile nature.
First off, I have not seen all the films that Angelina and Brad have appeared in but I must say I the both of them were almost completely unrecognizable in the way they portray the characters. Second, I believe this is Angelina’s second run as director and if this film and her previous film ‘Unbroken’ are any Indiction I believe we’ll see her directing movies in the future more than acting.
This film was a true homage the the Italian dramatic films of the 1970s I mentioned earlier.
The only way I believe they could’ve ‘replicated’ that so precisely would be to have filmed the movie with the cameras and equipment available to film makers during that period. Christian Berger the film’s cinematographer used mostly natural light throughout the filming process which was also one of the most impressive qualities of the movie which is not done nearly enough with modern film in my opinion.
Not everyone is going to like this film. It’s quite unique when put side by side with ‘modern day American movies’. Even if you are a die hard fan of either Angelina and or Brad’s work that alone might not save the film in your eyes. Some critics are calling this film a ‘vanity project’ on the part of Jolie and Pitt. I find that to be ridiculous. No sane person would’ve made that accusation against Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Everyone’s been screaming for Angelina and Brad to make another film together. Big deal if they want to have creative control over it too. They’re both accomplished actors and decided to put together a film themselves and and get other accomplished cast and crew members to sign on for the project. Honestly what the hell more do the critics want? If you are a fan of foreign movies or curious about the second acting collaboration between the husband and wife power couple though you should see it. I’d actually recommend checking out one or two films from the genre/era it represents before going to see this one.
The film is rated R and clocks in at 132 minutes. I’d recommend catching it at a small indie or art house theater and make sure you grab some snacks and a drink for this one. It opens in all the major theaters Friday the 18th of November but you can catch in those smaller theaters now.
It’s not my normal ‘cup of coffee’ but I will give the film 4 stars.
On behalf of my fellows at Skewed & Reviewed this is ‘The CameraMan’ saying thanks for reading and we’ll see you at the movies.