2008, Movies

Adam Resurrected (2008, Paul Schrader)

I struggle with Schrader as a filmmaker – the man has written some of the great American films, but those films are always directed by someone else (Scorsese among others). As a director I always wish that someone else had made his movies – with the exception of Mishima – and this one is no different.

This is a film that could be great I think, and I haven’t read the novel so I have no idea how the novel is. I more feel like the material could formed into something on the level of a 21st century Pawnbroker. And Goldblum isn’t the problem mostly – he does lapse into Goldblumisms more a couple times though. No, as usual, Schrader does things that I just don’t understand.

I know I am always going on about accents, but I really don’t get the idea that people speaking a foreign language should have the accent of that country. If there was a German film set in Canada, wouldn’t we expect all the actors to speak German as they normally speak it, and not with “Canadian” accents? I mean, wouldn’t we? So the accents make sense in Israel where, we assume, they are usually speaking English or Hebrew – occasionally lapsing into German in Goldblum’s case – but that would make sense given that they are from different countries originally, not from Israel. But in Germany, they still have those damn accents and, worse, Goldblum and the other Germans continue to lapse into German. What? (I’m guessing that’s in the book, but a book is a different medium.)

The Black and White memory / past trope is one that has been used before and I’m not sure to what purpose it is employed here. It’s not that it’s a bad thing, I just don’t know why it’s necessary here. In the opening it’s even faux-film, but they drop that soon and I don’t know why. (Also, the time in between the two periods is tinted.  I guess that’s neat…)

And it’s his odd touches such as this example: Goldblum is playing the violin but there is also a score – shouldn’t you choose one or the other? To either only have Goldblum’s violin or drown out the violin with the score, not both? I don’t get it.

It’s these Schraderesque idiosyncrasies that gnawed at me constantly while I watched this film and, as I noted, this is hardly the first time I have been unable to fully concentrate on the story he tells because of his odd choices.


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