2015, Movies

Chevalier (2015, Athina Rachel Tsangari)

I am somewhere in the middle when it comes to “people being awful” or “people being dumb” movies. I generally find them amusing but my degree of amusement doesn’t just depend upon the quality of the film, it also regularly depends upon my mood and where I watch them – if I am in a theatre and can give t my full attention I am far more likely to enjoy myself provided it’s a well-made film. I mention this because my mood and where i see the film particularly affects how I feel about foreign-language films like this because I have to pay full attention to get everything and my enjoyment of these types of movies – provided they are well-done – does indeed depend upon me paying full attention. When I find a movie like this that got rave reviews but which I only moderately enjoyed by watching at home, I always wonder “Was I not paying enough attention?”

But there is another reason why I don’t always love these movies and it has to do with the people in them. Depending upon my age when I watched the film, my enjoyment of people doing stupid/bad stuff varies. As I get older, I fear I have far less tolerance for masculine stupidity because I’ve seen so much in my life and I no loner find it funny. And the men in this movie are fucking idiots despite their ages. (Because of their ages?) And my enjoyment of this film is sapped to a degree because I don’t want to know any of them and I find myself not only happy that I wasn’t on this cruise with these men but also relieved that I don’t (believe) I know anybody like this who I would take a trip with. But that does that let me relax and enjoy laughing at them? Apparently not.

I have no complaints with the film as a film. This is a somewhat old conceit but a reasonable spin on that conceit. Moreover, it’s well-made and I actually really like the way it is shot and edited. It should work well as a comedy where you’re not always sure it’s okay to laugh. The actors are all entirely believable as their characters, thought that is mostly because I don’t know any of them and have no frame of reference for them as actors. This isn’t the most rapier-sharp script but that could be the translation.

I’m left with the conclusion that it is me – that I like these types of movies less than I used to. It is not a bad film but I just wasn’t in the mood. I believe that your mileage with the film will depend entirely upon your feelings about movies where older men act like macho idiots to their own detriment. (Well, it might also depend upon your mood and where you watched it, like me. I can imagine myself watching this at TIFF and laughing uproariously because I had no distractions like dishes and laundry and the computer wrote this on.)


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