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The Moderns – Film Review #johnlone

The Moderns – Film Review #johnlone

Starring: John Lone, Keith Carradine, Linda Fiorentino, Wallace Shawn
Written by Alan Rudolph, Jon Bradshaw
IMDb ranking & storyline: 6.7/10

A struggling artist is hired to forge paintings, causing him to cross paths with his ex-wife and her powerful new husband.

You may assume that I named my Bertie after Bertram in The Moderns, you may also assume that I enjoyed this tale set in the glamourous art world of 1920’s Paris, you are wrong, on both counts.

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I had high expectations of this film and this is probably where I went wrong – (see my previous Star Wars Solo blog piece for reference), I just wanted more from it.  Parts of it were Kubrick-like, almost, the naked people strolling through the street, Nathalie’s androgynous cat stroking accomplice – added an edge to it which could’ve been explored more.  Some scenes and characters didn’t add much to the story for me and overall I couldn’t help feeling that it could’ve been so much better.

What I did enjoy though, was the beautiful cinematography, set and performances of two of the central characters – Bertram Stone (John Lone) and Geraldine Chaplin (Nathalie de Ville).  These characters more than made up for the story. I honestly couldn’t care less if Nick Hart (Keith Carradine) and Rachel Stone (Linda Fiorentino) got together or not.  In fact, at one moment I was hoping Betram would kill both of them and run off with Natahalie – WHAT A COUPLE! John is one artist who can transcend race, looking at his work in this film and also Iceman, he must be incredibly proud of that as an actor.

Bertie was such a fascinating character, his dark depths had more of a light side as we got to know him on his journey. The most glorifying scene of his was while he was destroying the artwork to the bemused onlookers – showed the layers of his character, along with the boxing match which showed his competitive streak.  Bertram had the best dialogue too “All women are tarts, that’s why I love them“.

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I’m quite fascinated with anything 1920’s – a decade of elegance and awakening. This era in France was known as Les années folles –  a period when Paris re-established itself as a capital of art, music, literature and cinema.

Nathalie’s costumes reflected this era in the most spectacular way, including her beautifully painted face. There’s no doubt that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in terms of looks and talent Geraldine inherited from her father, entertainment legend, Charlie Chaplin. Nathalie’s character, truly a work of art herself. Charlie Chaplin wrote the best piece of dialogue known to man in The Dictator, watch it here.

“There’s no doubt that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree in terms of looks and talent Geraldine inherited from her father, entertainment legend, Charlie Chaplin. Nathalie’s character, truly a work of art herself.”

Wallace Shawn (Oiseau) deserves a shout out for injecting some fuel into the scenes with Carradine’s character, Nick.  I’ve enjoyed Keith Carradine’s acting in other films and series – its just Nick’s character, to me he only came alive once he slapped Rachel – then he fell back into a limp state.

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For the actual story itself, you’ll have to see it yourself to form your own opinion- as I am sure this film is like Marmite – some like it, some don’t.  I recently watched a film on Netflix which got a complete roasting by IMDb viewers but I thoroughly enjoyed it!  I guess we all expect something different from movies we see, this I will be exploring more in an upcoming blog.

As to the unanswered question about my Bertie, well he was someone I knew once a long time ago! My Bertie is named after him – a unique, special individual who stuck in the back of my mind for 20+ years.

 

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