Crowe is miscast here - his attempt at British is always in the way of proceedings. Scott cannot help it but it is TOO picturesque in many ways - it is visually smarmy, treacly to the point of cringe-inducing. Yet the film never lags and the pace keeps you watching til the end. Far from dreadful - exquisitely made, yet disappointingly predictable - nothing we've never seen a million times before, and for these film-making heavyweights that amounts to short-changing the audience.
A Good Year (12A)
Time Out says
Tue Oct 24 2006Max Skinner (Russell Crowe) is a morally retarded City trader who lives by his hands-free kit and Tie Rack charge card until one day he inherits a vineyard in Provence from his daffy old uncle (Albert Finney). At first, the habitually xenophobic Max struggles with Smart cars, feisty women and ‘salt of the earth’ local types in his callous attempts to sell off the property and get the hell back to Blighty but, as quick as you can say moules marinières, he’s prancing around in espadrilles and a powder blue workshirt with a newly acquired joie de vivre. Obligatory Proustian flashbacks (fleshed out by Finney and Freddie Highmore as the young Max) allow for a heartening glimpse of Max’s carefree childhood, while Scott evokes the pastoral idyll of rural France by cluttering each shot with earthenware pots. Worst of all, we’re supposed to be satisfied with the fact that Max eventually foregoes his multi-million pound salary in order to turn over a considerable profit on a vineyard that churns out award-winning wine. But where’s the life lesson in that? The film then deigns to espouse the abhorrent notion that (socialist readers look away now) if you’re born a rich bastard, you’ll die a rich bastard. Escapist dilettantes may find ‘A Good Year’ light, breezy and charming but even the most rudimentary inspection will reveal the film’s sickeningly rotten core.
Author: David Jenkins
Fri Oct 27, 2006