Sunday, December 8, 2013

Short (Sour) Note On Midnight Train To Lisbon

I just saw Bille August's Night Train To Lisbon, which I found in no particular order, unegaging, puzzling, pretentious, pseudo-arty, boring, and soporific. As to that last characteristic, I can attest to it: I fell asleep for about 20' roughly 1/3 of the way through.

Pretentious and pseudo-arty because the supposedly philosophical profundities in the dead doctor's book are bland thoughts, cliches really, such as about the relations between past, present and future, the discovery of our morality as we age, and the need to live full, vital lives. Not that these thoughts aren't worthy, but the movie confers such an august, no pun intended, imprimatur of depth to them, that the discrepancy between their relative ordinariness and that conferral is irritating.

Puzzling because

SPOILER ALERT, (as if anyone would care)

the love between the doctor and Estefania, so fraught, so intense, so long suppressed, so fought against, as August would have it, contrivedly founders, even as the reasons are given, the moment its possibility eventuates, leading to the response in me of "You've got to be f.....g kidding."

Matching that contrivance is the whole absurd arc of Irons's story, bizarre coincidence generating bizarre coincidence such that you'd think the movie was exercise in a kind of gritty, political revolution-filled and entirely anomalous magic realism.

By the way the reason the girl wants to jump off the bridge in the opening scene is later revealed as equally ridiculous.

IMHO natcherly.

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