Thursday, 26 January 2012

Allen's angst

The decline of Woody Allen in recent years has been pitiful. I watched in disbelief (luckily having copped a freebie copy) Vicky Cristina Barcelona (2008) – a dismal waste of time, money and talent. Does this man inhabit the real world or, come to that, his well-heeled American tourist's idea of Europe? This dreary little travel brochure and vehicle for product-placement lacks wit, irony or any hint of humour or realism. Arty types and intellectuals, according to him, are all beautiful people who live in beautiful villas, drive flashy sportscars and fly private planes. And they all have unlimited time and money with which to indulge themselves. We're invited to admire them and empathize with their trivial love-lives. Their life-styles seem to have been inspired by Hello – or in this case perhaps, Ola! – while the clumsy cinematography and deadpan voice-over (not by Allen, and anyhow utterly banal) do nothing but expose some wooden performances. (Only the talented Rebecca Hall emerges from this cinemuddle without damaging her rising reputation.) Mysteriously, this trite tripe was an 'Official Cannes Selection'. But talking of damaging one's reputation, maybe Allen should simply pack it in now, while the going's not so good.

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