Thursday, January 13, 2011

DVD--Boogie Woogie

or: Life imitating art.

One word to sum it up: Off-the-mark

No, Boogie Woogie isn't a musical sequel to Mamma Mia!, even if it does have Amanda Seyfried and Stellan Skarsgard in it. Rather, it will say it's one of those films which adopt multi plots so try and represent a certain happening (in this case, the London art scene). In reality, it's just all about sex. Because, allegedly, that is what art is, these days.

Directed by Duncan Ward, Boogie Woogie is a comedy of manners set against the backdrop of the London contemporary art scene. It begins with Elaine (Jaime Winstone), who is a video artist, trying to get her big break. Her friend Dewey (Alan Cumming) is desperately trying to help her, but when she uses Beth (Heather Graham) to get there, Dewey is hit hard. Beth works for an art buyer, Art (Danny Huston), who is trying to buy a painting entitled 'Boogie Woogie' off an ailing millionaire (Christopher Lee) and his wife (Joanna Lumley), but he has competition: Bob (Stellan Skarsgard) and Jean (Gillian Anderson) Maclestone. However, the bitter divorce that comes for Bob and Jean puts their entire art collection at stake, and the future of the 'Boogie Woogie' is put in jeopardy. Paige (Amanda Seyfried), the new assistant to Art, has an agenda of her own.

One of the things I really dislike about multi-plot films is that some stories seem to get lost among the more prioritized stories. Boogie Woogie seems to fall into this trap, but handles the several stories quite well, admittedly. What becomes the undoing of this film, though, is the weird, slightly warped, satirical view it has on the art scene. It's undoubtedly filled with many misrepresentations which come straight from the way Hollywood has built a stereotype for these types of people. This sees every single character in this movie trying to claw their way to the top, which is kinda annoying because there aren't any straight down-to-earth people. It's missing that right sense of balance, and doesn't really give you an indication of whether this is a film to be taken seriously or not. If you take it seriously, then it becomes quite an interesting ride through these horrible stock characters lives; even then, there are those moments which are telling you not to take it seriously, so it's easy to get confused.

The cast in Boogie Woogie is beyond fantastic, and their performances just about match that. They offer all that you could expect, but feel somewhat let down by the really bad cinematography and second rate script. There is one scene where Charlotte Rampling is telling Gillian Anderson about taking all she can get off her husband, which is simply fantastic. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie can't live up to that one scene, especially when it starts throwing sex around like a tennis ball and even tries to use shock value as a way to draw the viewer in. Luckily, it goes at a very fast pace, which is at least refreshing, and doesn't seem to dwell on one thing for very long.

THE VERDICT: Going at a fast pace with many characters, Boogie Woogie often gets lost in the message it's trying to convey, and proves too cynical for some.


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