Monday, 17 October 2011

Barney's Version: DVD Review

Barney's Version: DVD Review

Barney's Version
Released by Hopscotch Ent

Based on Mordecai Richler's prize-winning comic novel, Barney's Version stars the ever wonderful Paul Giamatti as Barney Panofsky, a TV show producer who's in the twilight of his life.

He's the kind of guy who tells it like it is in places and doesn't suffer fools gladly - but he's prone to making errors in his life - as his numerous marriages display.
But as well as the multitude of highs, he reflects back on his lows too - including the death of his friend Boogie (Scott Speedman) who mysteriously disappeared after an alcohol fuelled row with Barney and whose disappearance saw Barney pursued by the cops for murder.

Over four decades and three wives, we follow Barney and his relationships with lovers, children and occasionally work colleagues. The first ended in tragedy; the second ended when he fell in love with another woman on his wedding night and the third falls apart because of his own fallability.

Barney's Version is an odd sort of film; it meanders as Barney recalls parts of his life as he battles with a fatal illness towards the end. Perhaps that's some of the point of this film that it moves around and is told by an unreliable narrator; but it's an oddly cold kind of film which doesn't really engage on an emotional level.

Granted, there are some wonderfully comic touches and deft moments; and at the centre of it all, there's a ferocious tour de force from Giamatti himself; every emotion is etched on this sad sack's face and his on screen presence demands you watch. With great supporting performances from the likes of Hoffman as his Jewish dad and Rosamund Pike as the love of his life, it's a solid affair

Rating: 7/10 

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