Lost in London #filmreview

I don’t think I’ve had a more expensive ice cream than the Ohji vanilla tub. Over 3 squids even with the member’s discount too and we’re not talking family sized. I’m wrinkled enough to remember when Nouvelle Cuisine was a fashion, or was that a fad? Write it in French, cut the size to one that makes a child’s portion seem huge and stick it on a fancy plate in unusual positions and hey presto – you find you need a cheeky chow mien and chips on the way home.

This was always going to be a tricky night. See, as the poster above indicates this is an experimental film, shot, as a single take, and broadcast live around London in January this year. The reshowing now, one screening per night at different times was accompanied by some talking heads at the start, explaining how unique this was, how tricky to set up, making sure the single camera feed could be captured by multiple receiving stations, how a bomb threat had threatened to derail the whole thing – which would have created some tension at the time but since they had got me along, having already paid my tenner, on assumption it was in the can, it fell rather flat.

So, no, I didn’t need this pre-explanation and, in truth, hearing from Woody Harleson whose idea it was, merely broke the fourth wall at the wrong time and meant I started watching without the usual suspension of disbelief. I mean, there’s an implied contract when you enter a darkened cinema – if you try and entertain me I will pretend what you put up in front of me is real rather than a total fabrication. If you start by showing me how the magic is done, if you point out where the wires are then you are already facing an uphill battle for my support.

The premise was rather neat, mind you. Woody, playing himself, is in London with his family, working in the theatre. As he leaves after that night’ performance, off to meet his family, he’s handed a newspaper with him headlining – he’s been caught in a foursome. Can he hide it from his wife?

No. That isn’t a spolier, it’s the core of the movie – how can he win her back over one night in London. He’s taken clubbing to give her breathing space, he’s arrested and caught in a Kafkaesque spiral over a damaged taxi ashtray. It is fast paced, noisy and engaging.

In truth Woody’s performance is a tour de force. There are some sticky moments but also some wonderful humour when he meets Owen Wilson and debates if Woody is his best friend, his second best friend or some other category of chum.

It rambles and it’s a little stagey at the end, involving as it does a trip to see Harry Potter with a disabled child in tow but overall it was a good 90 minutes and, as an exercise in film making, quite something.

So even if I rather regretted the indulgence I admire Harleson’s indulgence. It’s not exactly history making – let’s face it, we all prefer slick cinematography and plausible acting – but a worthy 3 stars.

About TanGental

My name is Geoff Le Pard. Once I was a lawyer; now I am a writer. I've published three books - Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle, My Father and Other Liars and Salisbury Square. In addition I published an anthology of short stories, Life, in a Grain of Sand this summer. A fourth book will be out soon. This started life as a novel in a week on this blog and will follow later this year. I blog about all sorts at geofflepard.com and welcome all comments. These are my thoughts and no one else is to blame. If you want to nab anything I post, please acknowledge where it came from.
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16 Responses to Lost in London #filmreview

  1. Ritu says:

    Not even heard of this film!!! Thanks for the heads up His Geoffleship 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  2. gordon759 says:

    But what about the ice cream?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. willowdot21 says:

    Hummmm! Did you stir your ice cream until it was soft and yummy. 🤗💖

    Liked by 1 person

  4. For three quid I would have expected chocolate ice cream at the very least!
    Sounds like a good film although perhaps they could have gone into how it was made AFTER rather than before 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well jeepers being at the cutting edge of cinema history you must expect to pay three squid for a lick of icecream. I wonder if this movie will go down in history like the overindulgent Orson Welles Rosebud thing has. One imagines Woody’s has more humour in it. This is another movie I haven’t heard of Geoff, I need to up my game, if not for you too many movies would be slipping by me without so much as a cursory nod from my vague memory……. I might have to start reading newspapers again ….

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Annecdotist says:

    I think I read about this elsewhere (!) – sounds like the idea of it is more fun than the actuality. Raw cinema indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Charli Mills says:

    I like the idea that an actor is able to do something experimental. Good for Woody! I see Willie Nelson is involved, too.

    Liked by 1 person

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