Saturday, August 21, 2010

"Julia" (2008) - Movie Review

Tilda Swinton is Julia, an alcoholic wrapping her arms around wrong decisions one after another. She is totally out of control but somehow gets around making believe that everything is going to be merry and flowers in her la la land. She is not a ticking time bomb rather a series of explosion that never seem to stop. Tilda Swinton comes with loose dresses that have expired the youth in her and disheveled hair from random sexual encounters in her passed out drunken nights. She is audacious in taking up this role which does not invite dislike but a disgust.

In this reckless soul are some remote miniscule droplets of love. “Julia” will not be an exploration into that deep emotion. It will be the mine bombs she purposefully steps in. She gets fired as her sober time does not coincide with her office time. Her sponsor Mitch (Saul Rubinek) is concerned and given up. As her booze mania begins to bite and break the skin, she is into money trouble. Next thing you know she is listening to a fellow AA member Elena (Kate del Castillo) blabbering about her plan to kidnap her taken away son Tom (Aidan Gould). This is the sweet part which is to demand ransom from the kid’s paternal grandfather as he is loaded with money.

Julia reasonably stays away from Elena but the blood alcohol level beckons to differ in it. She not alone goes and scouts the location where the boy will be but double crosses Elena by taking the kidnap by herself. Before even she is aware of what she has gotten into, she takes Tom, ties him up and treats so bad that she does not deserve any kind of sympathy. This is a step by step exercise of disintegrating human being out of an addiction.

In “Goodfellas” we have seen Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill in the day of arrest goes on performing several tasks on being high on coke. Normal things become tedious, nerve wracking and ultimately tiring. Julia is a film which is an expansion of that day only that Julia’s day to day activities are not normal. She has no clue what to do with the kid, does not have a plan and never looks back on the predicament she is in. There is a voice inside her constantly telling the stupidity she is meditating but those are vented as shivers and sweats. Julia continues.

Tilda Swinton was a surprise winner for Academy Award for female supporting actor in “Michael Clayton”, a beloved movie of mine. Her character Karen Crowder was determined, composed and rehearses like a mad woman before she ventures out in the world of wolves. She is a wannabe wolf entering that dark arena and the nervousness she shows are taken in Julia. She has amplified that performance and gets into this female of self destruction. Swinton takes a dive as Harvey Keitel did in “Bad Lieutenant” and Mickey Rourke did in “The Wrestler”. When you put yourself out here like that, there is nothing but pure work of art and here she gets it in a despicable character.

Erick Zonca’s film also has other characters, the main one is Tom played by Aidan Gould, a kid who knows the situation, scared but not unknowing. Gould’s Tom realizes he is in a bad situation with a woman who is completely out of control. He tries to escape as expected and in the scattered idea of Julia, he is trapped. Julia on the other hand loses him often but retrieves him. This is the single most attempt in getting some co-ordinated action in her drunken spree.

So the end of “Julia” is not pleasant but there is redemption. Call it Stockholm Syndrome but these two characters begin to form a bond which traveled through mostly bitter experience. Tom has every reason to hate Julia but in those few days, he gets an irresponsible mother. The boy has been without a mother and Julia makes up for it. For Julia this is her final hope and disaster. There is no sweet story to follow after the end of the film but I am sure she would go for a prospective AA meeting.

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