Directed by David Mackenzie.
Written by David Mackenzie.
Starring Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Peter Mullan and Emily
Release Year: 2003
Review Date: 5/10/04
I'll tell you what: after seeing zero
NC-17 films in the last 29 years in theaters, this year, I've seen
Two adult films!
This time around, it's "Young Adam", an
import starring Ewan McGregor as Joe, a drifter that opens the film
as the ship's mate of a barge owner (Tilda Swinton) and her husband
(Peter Mullan). One morning Joe and the barge's hubby discover
a dead body floating face-down in the water, and over the course of
the film we learn about the dead woman, who just happens to be Joe's
former girlfriend Cathie (Emily Mortimer).
We also learn what it's like to see Tilda
Swinton naked for most of the next 90 minutes. And what it's
like to see Ewan McGregor naked. And Emily Mortimer naked.
And we learn, FINALLY!, what it's like to
have sex in a whole mess of custard.
But, in between all of this sex (and, there
are a bunch of sex scenes, at least a dozen), there is actually a
good movie here. I think much of this has to do with director
David Mackenzie's use of such sparse dialogue, and by letting his
actors give us almost everything emotional through their unspoken
feelings, we get to connect with the Joe character, as written a man
that is completely unattached with the world, but over the course of
the film, we find some remorse in him due to his situation and how
things ended in his relationship with Cathie. Tying things
back in with how he treats the barge owner (and a few other ladies
over the course of the movie), we get quite a portrait of how the
love-'em-and-leave-'em type that Joe is came to exist.
"Young Adam", though, does connect with its
audience through its consistent use of sex as plot device, as Joe
moves from host to host--I mean, come on, the guy is playing a
predator--using his good looks and emotional nonchalance to get
through to the next day, the next month, the next lay.
McGregor is so good here, using the boyish charms that are becoming
a hallmark of his career (although not as over-the-top as he was in
"Big Fish") with
a fantastic use of his eyes to convey the sly confidence of a man
that doesn't have much to say even if he DOES have a lot to do.
My friend Ross and I both agreed after the film that while Swinton
is a phenomenal actress, we could have done with much less Swinton
nudity, and in general, she is just very hard to look at and believe
that anyone would want to regularly have sex with her. This
may sound awful to some of you, but really, there is a point in the
film where I just sat there thinking
"Could I really come home to that?
On the flipside, you almost don't get enough
of Emily Mortimer naked...what were the producers thinking?
Some of these scenes get the heart racing, which is more than can be
said about 98% of sex scenes in American films. Either way,
you can guarantee that coming to see this film will at least remind
you that sex is good, and it's good for you...as long as you're not
regularly having sex with Tilda Swinton.
Good times, indeed.
Rating: $9.50 Show
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Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard