Saturday, February 25, 2012

Albert Nobbs...gender-bender role for Glenn Close falls flat! Entertaining period drama!





When a film critic starts to pay attention to the sets - the furniture in particular - then the movie (in this instant case "Albert Nobbs") is obviously in trouble.

Granted, there is a lot to be entertained by when this star vehicle (crafted for Glenn Close) splashes across the silver screen in a dazzling array of rich textures and lush eye-catching environs that can't help but captivate.

If a film buff is in to mesmerizing "period" pieces, then this quirky little drama is a gem that will sit right when all is said and done.

For starters, the cast of charming likable characters (for the most part) are delightul to behold.

Ms. Close, who acted as producer on this independent feature, established that she has a keen eye when is comes to scooping up talent capable of fleshing out the subtle nuances of complex intriguing personality.

Unfortunately, the gifted actress fell short when it came to creative choices for herself, especially in respect to the gender-bending role she attempts to tackle on screen here.

Part of the problem has to do with the "make-up" and the "prosthetics".

More often-than-not - because of the aforementioned challenges - emotions couldn't help but fail to ripple (or even register) on Nobb's frail face (so heavy was the mask that hindered as it also managed to confound in scene-after-scene).

Close - who scared the "bejesus" out of filmgoers in thrillers like "Fatal Attraction" - was barely able to rustle up a solid (or genuine) emotion-or-two on her normally-expressive face.

Consequently, her performance ends up being wooden, and falls flat.

In the early eighties, Ms. Close won an OBIE (stage honor) for her portrayal of "Albert Nobbs" in a stellar Broadway production.

After catching the film version last night, it was obvious that the well-written play lost something in the translation!

A handful of scenes are a "hoot" - downright hilarious - though.

For example, when Nobbs strikes up a friendship with another woman (impersonating a man like herself for the purposes of gainful employment) "he" is persuaded to don a frock the character's "lover" designed in her studio just before her untimely death.

When the odd twosome is suddenly spied strolling down the beach in the frilly "feminine" frocks moments later, there is a loud knee-jerk reaction from the audience.

Uh-huh!

Nobbs and the other gal appear for-all-the-world to be a couple of out-of-place freaks (social outcasts, at least).

Both - um - ladies were certainly too butch to be caught modelling the dainty outfits that cried out for slim pretty beauties in their stead.

Although the Nobb's production is of decent quality, at times, it was obvious (to moi, for sure!) that the flick was made on the cheap (to its detriment).

Where's Harvey Weinstein when 'ya need him?

Although "Albert Nobbs" is not ground-breaking material - or even thought-provoking in nature - it is worth the price of admission.

By the way, keep your eye on a couple of the "hunks" hopping in-and-out of bed throughout, because I expect their acting careers will be soaring in the near future.

Heartthrobs both!





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