You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet! Reviews
Even with one seriously wonky framing sequence, director Alain Resnais, with his penultimate film "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet," turns two of his favorite obsessions, theatre and surrealism, into a mindblowing experience. Throughout the body of the movie, with a little help from split screen, he seamlessly combines three productions of a play(starring Sabine Azema & Pierre Arditi, Anne Consigny & Lambert Wilson and Vimala Pons & Sylvain Dieuaide respectively) that occasionally inhabit the same space.(Thus proving we have to find out to how to clone Mathieu Amalric.) This is no mere experiment as it allows the viewer to not only see the differences in various adaptations but more specifically in how the actors interpret the work.
I wanted to rate this a tad higher because Resnais uses some impressive long takes throughout "Nothin'", highlighting especially the facial expressions and hair of his actors as they go on long spiels about life, love and death, but then the ending happened and I was just completely soured to the whole enterprise. Really truly, I'm sorry, but I thought the wraparound here was downright atrocious. Considering we're barely ever introduced to any of the characters -- a group of friends who gather at the home of a recently-deceased acquaintance and end up reciting a late reading by the former playwright, a loose interpretation of the Greek myth of lovers Orpheus and Eurydice -- the final twist is completely unbelievable, which is, you know, whatever, but without spoiling it, it's irritating mostly for just being plain fucking shitty of the person involved.
And the script by Resnais and Laurent Herbiet -- inspired by dramatist Jean Anouilh's "Eurydice" and "Cher Antoine ou l'Amour raté" -- is stuffed with so much painfully pretentious, strenuously jokey dialogue I'd say I understood at long last how detractors of "The Counselor" felt watching that particular film, when actually I'd more so relate "You Ain't Seen Nothin' Yet" to the drunken redundancies of Paolo Sorrentino's outstanding "The Great Beauty". Where that movie's peaks and valleys serve a larger point about life imitating art and vice versa, this one's just feel hopelessly remiss. Or, in other words, as with most things, Arcade Fire did it better.
But again, I'm probably in the minority. (52/100)
The concept of VNAERV is pretty neat, the acting decent and the style just artsy enough for me.
You only get to see the good parts though if you're able to stay awake for the first half an hour or so. Then, when the first guys walked out of the theater, and I considered just taking a nap, the film/play shifts to the next gear and the more I think about it, the more I admire Resnais' work.
It's not an easy premise, for the funeral of an old friend, a theater director and playwright, the former ensembles (an all-star French cast playing themselves) of his play Eurydice assembles, and is asked to do him one last favour. Assess if a youthful and spirited theater ensemble may be allowed to perform the director's work.
While watching, the now-aged former cast plays along the rehearsal film, and, in the process, we get to see this Eurydice production on four stages.
This is the fun part about the film. We watch the new theater's rehearsal, the guests interact in their seats at the home cinema, and, because they're are two former Orpheus and Eurydices, two "imagined" versions of the play, in which the supporting roles are shared by one actor. So, it gets most interesting whenever one of these characters comes into a scene and talks to both Eurydices/Orpheus at once.
Sounds complicated or even crazy, it isn't really, but I've seen easier films too...
But, as I said, I, and most of the rest of the audience too, needed some time to adjust to the unconventional narrative and the first act of the play was really tiring. I had also some other minor issues with the mediocre effect scenes and the theatrical approach and acting style (although this was of course intentional).