Young Adam Reviews
Honestly, I wasn't really affected in any particular way by this movie. I was impressed, sure, and held effectively in thrall. I didn't feel like anything meaningful had been said or shown, though. In that way I guess it's a very modernist product, where the film's aim is a collective contract between the text, the auteur and the audience and we're left to disentangle the meaning from the events left to us. Young Adam is temporally neutral and extremely simple and would probably make the most sense to a viewer as a really, really depressing slice of life. It's got the whole "karma is dead" thing from Match Point going on, where injustice seems to be the name of the game and the characters resolve themselves to what befalls them. Kudos also to the film's sensibly chopped-and-screwed narrative structure, hanging its greatest mystery halfway through and letting the rest of the piece resolve itself as a character study. The performances are uniformly committed (though I think McGregor, able as he is, is miscast as a character who should be devoid of softness), the photography is nice in its low-budget austerity, and the cinematographic direction is suitably subtle and observant. I don't think the movie necessarily does anything WRONG, but it's too dour even for me, and ultimately uncritical of its characters. Again, the movie is a challenging watch, but sadly not for the right reasons.
i watched it because of its notoriety of having notorious tagged as nc-17 due to the cunniligus scene and the frontal shot of ewan mcgregor's privacy (which has had its celluiod appearance in velvet goldmine and the pillow book)....and what's the point about young adam, who is a former writer-wanna-be, a bum who's been fed by his girlfriend but refuses to marry her, the guy who bestows his sex on every-woman who lay eyes on him as if it's some sort of gratuitous boy-scout services..maybe IF adam eventually goes to the police or the judge to reveal the truth...there might be some melodramatic tension added to redeem this picture. but he just sits there as a guilty bystander and let a man get hung.
the path of the movie runs also quite slow. and the sex scenes are plain depsite in one scene, ewan macgregor tries to do what marlon brando does in "last tango in paris" to showcase some brutish magnetism by throwing a custard over naked woman then performs the the fonication behind...but the result is just you see a man tries to pose as brando-ish sexpot and it's not stirring at all. the sexs are menchanical without passion or antagonism but abscent-minded easy virtues. just absurd, and no spark. definitely not sexy.
nc-17 is SO wasted on this film....even the trashy "show girl" has something more fun and watchable depsite its blatant cheesy stupidity.
It is very cleverly constructed film and holds the attention to the end, and the naturalistic acting has its own, considerable, power. Tilda Swinton's performance was outstanding and Ewan McGregor had no need for his easy charm - it was tough, it was rough... but both of them were perfect choice for a depressing film exuding hopelessness and inviting us to pity the characters! There was no desire to share in their tragic condition - the atmosphere was always in the mood of "they deserved it". Even when the storytelling looks disjointed, it was a wonderful job from David Mckenzie deliberately jumping back and forth in time without warning, so that the meaning of events and the connections among them emerge retrospectively. Created mood of unease and dislocation follows creepingly and persisting even after certain crucial mysteries are solved. The understated score (by David Byrne) was just adding to the whole experience of male narcissism, as expressed through erotic need. The camera work in this film is something many should learn from - precise and visually eye catching. Recommended for a quiet morning or night!
To sum this up, this film is not a happy film but I found it dark. The ending was not clear enough but left me instead in thoughts. I can't exactly say what makes this film so interesting but the whole aspect of Joe's life will make many become interested in wanting to know this man.This is a film you'll either love-it or hate-it.
The movie is rough though because it is bleak and barren, which does fit the general mood of the plot as, the protagonist's inner world as well as the grim Scottish channeldocks setting.
Yet, the movie is a very interesting mix of gloomy blue and occassional (quite a lot) dazzling decadent sex scenes, which take place in all sorts of places, on the street, in a backalley, on a boat etc. and all feature Ewan McGregor and various dames in the nude. The movie is a clash of psychological study and some kind of post-industrial bohemia.
I do not want to give too much away about the plot but the crux is the demise of young lady who is found by two bargemen (Mullen & McGregor) drowned in the sea. The movie follows the events before and after her death at the same time.
A good movie which should appeal for anyone who is interested in the dark side of humanity and/or British Indie Film Making. Or if you just want to see loads of raunchy sex scenes with a naked Ewan McGregor. Both are valid claims in my opinion.