Alexander's Review of Barney's Version
Next up on my reviews was one of my favorite actors, Paul Giamatti, latest movies, Barney's Version.
Story: The story is a grand retelling of Barney Panofsky's, played by Paul Giamatti, life with a emphasis on his three marriages, the last being his true love. Barney Panofsky is a sarcastically hilarious, at times calculating but in the end a man as Barney's first wife Clara says, "(He) wears his heart on his sleeve." In between his love life you get a glimpse into the relationships with his friends, mainly his friend Boogie played by Scoot Speedman, and his father, played by Dustin Hoffman. At times the story is quite funny, but in the end it goes down dark road and turns into a serious drama. While told in a grand manner it still can be looked at as a simple straight forward retelling of this man's life with a few twists and turns throughout the movie.
Actors: This is the area where the movie shines most as the cast has as good of a cast as the Eagles roster this season. Paul Giamatti, Dustion Hoffman, Minnie Driver, Scott Speedman, and Rosamund Pike are all fantastic as is the rest of the cast not mentioned. To me Giamatti is completely underrated in terms of awards as in my opinion he should of won for Cinderella man years ago. In this role he plays Barney throughout his whole life from a reckless Barney in his 30's to an aging Barney full of regrets. Hoffman as Barney's retired cop father and right hand man plays in one of his best roles I have seen him in a while. Pike plays Barney's true love and she plays it with a quiet strength. She is subtle but strong as each look, action or thing she says is done with passion and emotion. Driver seems to have fun as the Jewish princess and so does Speedman as the philosophical drug addicted friend.
Technical Aspects: In terms of direction Lewis does not really have any grand shots just seems to stick to more personal shots letting the camera almost seem as a bystander watching the events unfold. Shots that make you feel more on a personal level with the characters which helps to make the whole story feel more relatable. Another great technical aspect was the makeup which I believe got nominated for an oscar. Aging all the actors most have been a task and they did it great. Giamatti at the end of the movie truly looks like the worn down old man they want him to appear as.
Any Issues?: Now while I did feel the movie was good I found myself having one major issue with it. They could have cut about twenty minutes of it off as the movie seemed to drag on a little two long for my tastes. Essentially there was just scenes that felt unnecessary, for instance the whole side plot with Barney and Boogie to me seemed to have no point.
Verdict: A at times funny retelling of a man's life but ultimately a rather depressing relatable life story of a man who man have had a rough exterior but in reality "wore his heart on his sleeve." Fantastic acting and great make up make this worth a watch, especially if you like Paul Giamatti like myself.
3.5 out of 5
Until next time.