Arthur Newman (2012)
Though the whole enterprise is built on a huge and somewhat false contrivance (a man taking on a new identity and picking up a troubled woman along the way who also is playing games with her identity), it all works better than you might think. And it's largely because of Colin Firth and Emily Blunt, both strong and understated leads. Blunt in particular has qualities that are interesting without merely being "star" material. Firth, of course, is a mega-star and he's playing his quiet man with familiarity here.
The director Dante Ariola is only on his second film and the writer is on his first (after a few screenplays based on other people's stories). And I guess it shows in many little ways, including a script that doesn't seem believable at times. Then at other times it's believable but not that interesting. What keeps it floating through these waves is a sense of pace and ease with the two actors, who of course are seasoned and respected stars.
This is both a downer movie with two unhappy leads trying to survive their lives and a feel-good movie about people who find something in each other to survive. It's not quite a romance that develops (it's not "Leaving Las Vegas"), but there is a kind of loving co-dependence. It's meant to be deeper and more moving than it is mostly a issue of the writing againbut you get the drift and it works overall.
In the end, at the end, you wish so much it had been more than it was. It has so many interesting qualities that don't get pulled outthe surprising convergence in the plot, the game of taking on identities, the psychological depth of being who you are and accepting thatI felt let down by what did happen. The solutions are a bit obvious and almost cheap, depending on formulas seen before. Which is too bad because the set-up and the actors are worth more than that.
Action / Drama
Action / Drama
Wallace Avery hates his job. His ex-wife and son hate him, and he's blown his one shot at living his dream. Not wanting to face all this, he stages his own death and buys himself a new identity as Arthur Newman. However, Arthur's road trip towards anew life is interrupted by the arrival of the beautiful but fragile Mike, who is also trying to leave her past behind. Drawn to one another, these two damaged souls begin to connect as they break into empty homes and take on the identities of the absent owners: elderly newlyweds, a high-roller and his Russian lady, among others. Through this process, Arthur and Mike discover that what they love most about each other are the identities they left at home, and their real journey, that of healing, begins.
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August 23, 2013 at 09:02 AM