Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Young Ones: It Makes You Miss Rik Mayall Even More
centuries of human history, more battles have been fought over water than probably
any other natural resource. Apparently, Gwyneth Paltrow’s brother only recently
discovered the strategic value of water, but he is duly impressed.
Unfortunately, viewers will find an entertainment drought in Jake Paltrow’s Young Ones (trailer here), which opens
today in New York.
Holm was once a farmer, but his parched land is almost as arid as the
characters he encounters. Following some sort of vaguely defined environmental
disaster, Holm and his socially underdeveloped son Jerome eke out a modest living
selling supplies to the knuckle-draggers working for the corrupt water works in
the mountains. Flem Lever (a name everyone says with a straight face, to their estimable
credit) covets Holm’s trading business and his eternally distant daughter,
Mary. Despite Holm’s rugged manliness, the pretty boy Lever still manages to
kill him in the desert, framing his new pack mule android for the murder most
course, it takes Jerome quite a while to suspect Lever, because intuition
hardly runs in the family. Ironically, Lever is much better suited to reversing
the family’s fortunes, given his devious nature and ruthless follow-through.
Nevertheless, little Jerome will get himself some payback when the time is
Holm is the sort of role Michael Shannon was born to play, but sadly that is
the only bit of casting that makes sense in Young
Ones. A slow burning brooder like Shannon should be counterbalanced with
someone who can project and maybe even chew a bit of scenery. Instead, for Holm’s
sort of grown children, Paltrow calls on Kodi Smit-McPhee and Elle Fanning, two
of the mousiest screen thesps you will ever come across. Watching them shuffle
around the farm makes the films of Bela Tarr look like madcap romps.
Without question, Young Ones’ MVP is cinematographer Giles Nuttgens, who also lensed Perfect Sense, an infinitely superior
apocalyptic allegory. He gives the parched vistas the proper John Ford
treatment, but unfortunately he does not have much else to shoot in terms of
narrative or characters. Unremittingly dull, yet also pretentious, Young Ones is a would-be futuristic western
genre-bender that completely melts down. Not recommended for anyone, it opens
today (10/17) in New York at the Village East.
Labels: Apocalyptic cinema, Michael Shannon