Sunday, October 17, 2010

DVD--Solitary Man

or: Aging disgracefully.

One word to sum it up: Condescending.

With all the the news surrounding Michael Douglas of late, because of the recent release of Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and his diagnosis with throat cancer, I felt surprisingly drawn to watch one of his more recent releases, Solitary Man. This movie just seemed to drift in from nowhere, and also got some pretty good reviews along the way, not to mention the fact that Jesse Eisenberg (with a really great cast) makes an appearance. Not bad for a movie which just turns up on the shelf with no warning.

Ben Kalman (Michael Douglas) is aging: he has heart problems, his marriage is over, he's lost a fortune after being caught cutting corners in his East Coast car business, and he's sleeping with as many women as possible - the younger the better. He's chosen his current girlfriend, Jordan (Mary-Louise Parker), because her father can help him get a new auto dealership; she's asked him to escort her daughter, Allyson (Imogen Poots), 18, on a visit to a Boston college campus. He behaves badly, and there are consequences to his love life, his finances, and his relationship with his daughter (Jenna Fischer) and grandson. Is there anywhere he can turn?

To be honest, I really couldn't understand the premise of this film, mainly because I haven't lived enough to be able to connect with the messages that this film dishes out left right and centre. That aside, the central character in the film, Ben, is extremely hard to connect with, because he is amazingly cold and purely heartless. But hey, when you have Michael Douglas in the role, he can pull it off, and the character doesn't become so annoying, thus lifting the whole film. It's miserable material: the film is centred on one horrible guy's relationships and wants in life, while he is aging and deteriorating in health. Not once does it let up and try and turn itself into a happy fluffy piece of has a dark look on the matter and remains dark for an hour and a half.

This is maybe what Gran Torino would have been like had Michael Dogulas been in the lead role and that role was a bit of a ladies man. But it makes itself to be a little more of a Wall Street type film, with all the greed and whatnot. Unfortunately, it wasn't at good as it's rave reviews said it would be, but maybe I'm a little too young to be meddling in this sort of material. However, on a whole, this is an accurate portrayal of aging in the most disgraceful way possible.

THE VERDICT: With a great central performance which lifts the films material up a notch, Solitary Man isn't fantastic, but it's surprisingly good for a small movie about one person's relationships.


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