Preview by: Jack Foley
ONE of the more interesting films to emerge from the London Film
Festival is sure to be Its All About Love, Thomas Vinterbergs
keenly-anticipated follow-up to the acclaimed Festen, starring
Joaquin Phoenix, Claire Danes and Sean Penn.
The film is set in the near-future, and is billed as a fantastical
romantic-thriller, which represents quite a change of scale and
pace for the director.
As one of the co-founders of Dogme 95, Vinterberg has now renounced
bare-essential aesthetics to create a far-reaching yet intimate
epic about the death of love and, potentially, the end of the
world. Hence, viewers can anticipate the spectacle of seeing it
snow in New York during the otherwise hottest month of the year,
and freshwater freezing instantly in glasses and pipes for a period
of two minutes.
Phoenix stars as John, the narrator of the tale, who we first
meet stepping over mysteriously collapsed human bodies in New
York, while on his way to divorce his figure-skater wife, Elena
(Claire Danes). Although reunited only briefly, John stumbles
across a corporate conspiracy surrounding Elena, prompting him
to kidnap her and go on the run.
Literally hovering over all this is Johns brother, Marciello
(Penn), who offers advice-cum-running commentary from an aeroplane
thats unable to land.
Vinterberg sets his tale co-written with Mogens Rukov
against the backdrop of an increasingly chaotic and elementally
unpredictable world, where people are dying from lack of love,
whole regions are freezing over and even gravity is under threat.
According to the LFF website, contemporary film-makers
such as Alan Rudolph, Wim Wenders and Julio Medem are evoked,
although it credits Vinterberg as travelling his own path
here and the journey is fascinating.
The film was screened at this years Sundance Film Festival,
where its look drew gasps of admiration. However, the plot found
many scratching their heads, while the decision to force both
Phoenix and Danes to adopt Polish accents has been something which
critics have singled out as a particularly bad move.
Indeed, according to website, Movies.com, anticipation going
into Sundance was so high that it appeared a distribution deal
for an American release was all but guaranteed. Post-Sundance,
however, the prospect of a wide American release is probably
all but dead.
Audiences who like something a little bit different, or a challenge,
may well want to see it, however, particularly given the profile
that its cast now carry in terms of recent successes.