Tuesday, 9 February 2010

A Single Man

Colin Firth’s performance as a man who has recently lost his male partner of sixteen years to a tragic accident is extraordinary, finally giving him the role that shows how good he really is. Firth should have been on my list of top ten actors of the decade, but I somehow forgot him, as I forgot his fellow Brit, Clive Owen (maybe that’s what happens when you leave London behind - you try to repress all things British). Firth even replaces George Clooney as best actor of 2009 (though I plan to see Crazy Heart this week and may soon be giving the honour to Jeff Bridges).

Back to A Single Man: This is an amazing film and would easily have made my top ten films of 2009 had I seen it in time (probably my top five). The director, Tom Ford, is a fashion designer and this is his first film. It doesn’t show. The direction, like the acting, is superb. The design of the film is certainly excellent, but not distracting. The cinematography is generally outstanding, as is the score (perhaps my favourite of the year). This is a film that not only takes place in 1962 - it feels like it was filmed in 1962. It is pure art-house, telling a very simple story, which takes place in just over a day, in a quiet intelligent way. Perhaps there could have been a little more insight into Firth’s character, but then maybe it wouldn’t have worked so well as an unsentimental yet moving film.

A Single Man encourages us to think about the people we encounter on any given day, about the way people treat each other, about relationships in general and about the masks we all wear, so there is much food for discussion (what WERE the filmmaker/writer trying to say about the role of “fate”? for example). **** My mug is held high - it’s the kind of film that restores my confidence in filmmaking at a time when most of the box office hits are junk-food.

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