EIFF 09: Boogie Woogie

By Stuart Wood 2009-06-30 15:54:01discussion comments
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EIFF 09: Boogie Woogie image
It's hard to pin down exactly where the mess that ends up being Boogie Woogie went wrong. With a cast most big Hollywood movies would kill for and a subject matter ripe for satire, instead of being a sharp and sexy bitchslap to the pretentious world of art, this is a film that deserves to be cut up and drowned in formaldehyde.

Boogie Woogie tries to play the now rather old game of multiple story threads of dysfunctional characters hung together by a common MacGuffin; as seen in almost every other movie these days from Pulp Fiction to Crash and Magnolia. In this case, the object the movie revolves around is a classic painting owned by cantankerous old man Alfred Rheingold (Christopher Lee in a small but superior role) and pursued by art dealer Art Spindle (Danny Huston hamming it up so much he could start oinking). Using this as a hub the movie expands exploring the lives of almost everyone in Art's art world.

The sheer number of characters in Boogie Woogie is too large to list here; as well as those already mentioned there is Gillian Anderson's cougar, Heather Graham's ambitious PA and Alan Cumming's washed up artist which barely covers a third of the main players. It is far too many people to squeeze in to the movie's lean 90 minute running time so as a result most of the characters suffer from truncated storylines and characterisation. The biggest flaw Boogie Woogie suffers, however, is that tonally the movie is all over the map. One minute trying to zip along as a quirky comedy, the next delving in to a grim and questionable plot line involving Amanda Seyfield which leaves a nasty taste in the mouth.

Boogie Woogie proves that no matter how many big name actors you throw at a project, if you don't have a good script to start with, the film just will not hold together.
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