Thursday, 20 July 2006

The Interview with Jim Jarmusch

My highlight for this week is one of Formal’s favourites, The Interview (Sun 10 midnight) where most of the action takes place in a police interview room. Eddie Fleming (Hugo Weaving) has been hauled in for questioning by coppers (Tony Martin and Aaron Jeffrey) who are as corrupt and as fierce as the man opposite them. Tony Martin (starring currently in Candy) memorably emphasises the worst traits of his character with a nasally, sneering accent he employs throughout. High on dialogue, claustrophobic in its exchange and compelling in its tension where you’re never sure who is playing whom. Directed by Craig Monahan who’s only other film credit is 2004’s Peaches which also starred Weaving alongside Jacqui McKenzie.
High Society (9 Sat 130P) 1956 musical classic starring Grace Kelly in her last film role (before becoming real life Princess of Monaco), Bing Crosby and Frank Sinatra. Cole Porter’s music is a standout as is Louis Armstrong’s playing. “Kelly looks flawless in every scene.”
Wednesday night is the start of the Jim Jarmusch retrospective widely advertised by SBS during the World Cup. Down By Law (Wed SBS 10P) stars Tom Waits, John Lurie and Roberto Benigni. RT likes it, and famous US critic Roger Ebert describes it thus : “[It] is a movie about cheap whiskey and black coffee, all-night drunks and lost jobs, and the bad times you can have with good-time girls. It tells the story of a pimp, an unemployed disc jockey and a bewildered Italian tourist and how they escape from jail and wind up slogging through the Louisiana bayous looking for a decent place to have breakfast.”
I have only seen two Jarmusch films (last year’s Broken Flowers and his penultimate Coffee and Cigarettes) and so do not claim to know much about him or his films. They are hard work though. I expect that there will be jokes, but it won’t be a comedy; you might despair, but the characters haven’t quite given up hope; the storylines will be serious, but don’t expect a straightforward narrative. It is easy to summarise them as “original.” Even an eminently watchable film (like Broken Flowers) with a great cast (Bill Murray, Sharon Stone, Julie Delpy, Jessica Lange, Tilda Swinton) did not make the film any easier to understand. There can be no mistake that a Jarmusch film is a Jarmusch film. Whatever that means.
So with an air of tolerance, an open and inquisitive mind I will watch the Jarmusch collective on SBS over the next month and try to form some meaning and cohesiveness. Join me in the journey and post your comments.
Other Jarmusch films to come on SBS : Mystery Train, Night on Earth and Dead Man.

1 comment:

lach said...

Never heard of "The Interview" - but it sounds really good. It's amazing what can be done without special effects, good actors and a good script. The writers of Superman should take note.

Comedy DVD of the week goes to "A Bit of Fry and Laurie", due out next month and contains some very well written high brow comedy. Low brow comedy recommendation next week.