Friday, September 23, 2005

Proof

Look at that...mere HOURS after Ken mentions it on the blog, the review is up. Now let's all pretend it was coordinated. Oh, and I TOTALLY skipped the last fifteen minutes of history to catch this during its matinee hours.

First off, there’s not way I can talk about this without comparing it to the play it’s adapted from, which I and a number of others had the opportunity to really dig into (I not as much as say…the cast, but I saw it like ten times or whatever, and Jeff talked about it incessantly). So for those of you who didn’t see the JHS production, you probably won’t get a lot of where I’m coming from.

Also, there are some spoilers, but if you saw the play it’s nothing you don’t know.

First, it is a GOOD film. It’s a very GOOD film. But it’s not a GREAT film, whereas the play IS. Some of the problems are inherent to the medium, largely in terms of the dialogue, which is left mostly intact and in many instances doesn’t read as well as it did onstage.

And although most of the dialogue is the same, most of it does not take place in the same location. In fact, only one scene that I recall in the entire film takes place on the back porch of the house. The rest is either in the house, on the front porch, in cars, in department stores, at the funeral, at the school, et cetera. One thing I thought about pretty quickly was actually something I heard while in Nebraska when we took the play there. At this writing workshop, the guy running it said that Hollywood almost requires the scene to change at least every ninety seconds. A conversation can continue, but the characters have to go to another room, get in a car, just go somewhere ELSE. And there are a lot of scenes where the dialogue is the EXACT same as the play, but the characters are running all over the place.

But with that, we also get to fill in some of the gaps. We get to see a lot of the house (despite the fact that director John Madden (not that one) used a TON of close-ups), which I always wanted to walk into and look around. We get to see Catherine at school, which makes it all the more heartbreaking when she has to go back to take care of Robert (the why of which unfortunately isn’t fully explained until the end of the film).

Of course, it means you also see the sex scene, which comes off really awkward (the big lead-up to it is Catherine taking Hal to her room and saying "Well, this is my room!"). But yeah, try not thinking of the JHS production during THAT little ditty.

The acting is solid, even if Anthony Hopkins goes over the top a lot. That’s all I’ll really say on the subject, as I cannot possibly objectively compare it to the JHS show. I either already was or became friends with the cast of the show during the whole thing, and saw them go on many nights and all that it took to do that. I do believe wholeheartedly that the folks in the film don’t hold a candle to Kate, Matt, Langan, and Chris. But then again, they never had a chance.

It’s easier to harp on a good film’s few flaws rather than talk about all the great things about it. So if that helps explain why the good comments have been shuffled aside, you’re welcome. To summarize, it is definitely a good film, but it’s not nearly as amazing as the play.

And it’s an easy film to recommend, especially for those who really got into the play, if only for curiosity’s sake. You’ll spend the whole time comparing it to the play and thinking of all the good times behind it (the walk home was flooded by Nebraska memories), but it’s a worthwhile thing to check out.

9 comments:

X said...

sounds like its something see. I loved the play (although I only saw it once). I envy all of you that got to work on that one, always have, nit just because you got to go to nebraska, but because you got to work on that play and work with the actors so closely because it was a small cast. I'm gonna check it out.

P.S. Is it just me or does Gwinith Paltrow look a lot like Kate?

imac said...

Gwyneth Paltrow is a whiny bitch.

Adrianna said...

Oh Proof.

I miss Proof.

Ben said...

Who are you calling a whiny bitch, Machuca? Gwyneth Paltrow is a saint and I'll not hear otherwise.

Shinekaze said...

I can't wait to see it. I'm excited to walk down memory lane one more time. We'll have to watch it as a group during Christmas break. I can probably find a copy here on OSU's filesharing network.

J. Fugue said...

I'm excited for it too. That and Corpse Bride (It's another musical by Danny Elfman!).

That reminds me, I've already been talking up Metamorphoses. I want to get a big group together and head up there for the Saturday or Sunday show.

Nancy said...

Hey, Penn's putting on a play called Metamorphoses...

Adrianna said...

It takes place in a swimming pool. Jeff hall is building a swimming pool in the Black Box. SO JEALOUS OF OREGON PEOPLE....

Doug said...

So is Cornell...