I’ve been mulling this blog entry over for days now. I saw Behind the Candelabra last Thursday and it’s taken me this long to realise that not every “review” I post is going to be an insightful piece of work. I want to see movies that I connect with. Movies should make us think about what we’ve consumed as a paying member of the audience; I’ve handed over my hard-earned and set aside at least 120 minutes of my life to be entertained, enthralled, excited, upset, horrified, informed, angered, whatever it may be. Movies should be the catalyst for debate.
Now I could go on and inform the very nice people who have become my followers as to the nature of this particular release but there are far better publications and websites out there that will fulfill that particular task. The Modus Operandi for this particular blog is to convey my thoughts about movies I have seen and hopefully people will read the entries and find them interesting.
So, where do we stand with Behind the Candelabra? Well, there are a few reasons why I wanted to watch it. Firstly it’s directed by Steven Soderbergh and I very much like him as a filmmaker. It’s a biopic of Liberace – an entertainment legend that sadly I’m old enough to remember and so am interested in being “informed” about his life. I’d read good things about Michael Douglas‘s performance and so wanted to see that for myself. And I like Matt Damon.
So it ticked a lot of the boxes for me with regards to why I would choose to see a particular movie. Am I glad I saw it? Yes. Would I rave about it and urge the world-and-his-wife to see it immediately? No. This is where we get to the crux of the issue. First and foremost Michael Douglas was fantastic! I wouldn’t be surprised if he was nominated for an Emmy. Matt Damon was also very, very good and there was the added bonus of seeing Dan Aykroyd playing Liberace’s manager and none other than Scott Bakula. It is a very solid piece of work and what Mr. Soderbergh can do with a limited budget is fantastic.
But I can’t help feeling that, as with any biopic, it may be a skewed view of what really went on. And I blame The Perfect Storm for my cynical nature towards movies that are “based on actual events”. It wasn’t until I’d viewed that particular film that I realised a lot of the scenes on the boat were entirely fictional – how could they have been anything else due to the fate of the crew? I suppose I could have looked into the subject matter a little more before going to see it, but I wanted to just view the movie. My thought process was “if this is based on real events, then I wonder which member or members of the crew survived to tell the tale?” But alas I was wrong and so inevitably grossly disappointed. That’s not to say I’m “grossly disappointed” with Behind the Candelabra, just a bit skeptical. And that’s entirely me and my foibles, I understand that. Suffice to say, Behind the Candelabra is very good and worth a watch for the reasons I outlined earlier. I was informed – to a certain degree – and entertained but it didn’t really stir me or provoke any long-term thinking about it once I’d viewed it. What it has done though, is to make me think more about what I want to achieve with this blog and for that I’m very grateful.