Starring: Jim Broadbent, Charlotte Rampling, Emily Mortimer, Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode, Joe Alwyn, Harriet Walter, Billy Howle
Directed By: Ritesh Batra
Plot: A man (Broadbent) receives a letter out of the blue from an ex-lover, who left him something in her will, but that item is being retained by her daughter. As he begins to unravel the story of what this all means, he comes closer to finding the truth behind what happened so many years ago.
What Works: I can’t say this film isn’t well acted. Jim Broadbent is astounding, which is amazing, because he’s given very boring material to work with. He’s one of the best living actors, and he proves that he can do a lot with very little. Even Charlotte Rampling, who has half the screen time, conveys so much through just a glance that she just is on another level altogether. As far as the direction, the film looks good. It is a competently shot film with solid performances.
What Doesn’t Work: If Hitchcock took an Ambien and tried to write a film, this might be that film. Yeah, it’s kind of a mystery, but it moves so slowly it never actually feels like a mystery. Tim jumps all over the place, like the film thinks its being super clever by withholding little bits and pieces until the end. Instead, this film just seems to stretch out its story needlessly into an almost two hour movie. It’s a lot of talking, often times about nothing. Or, talking about what we just experienced in the flashback. It is an almost unforgivably slow film, and by the time you get to the end of the mystery, you’re actually just happy you reached the end of the film. I think the title is a little prophetic, because all you’re looking for halfway through the film is the sense of an ending.
Final Word: Jim Broadbent is terrific, but the film is dull and lifeless. The mystery and the payoff isn’t worth the wait, no matter how clever this film thinks it is. Despite the catatonic direction, the cast still works wonders.
Final Grade: C-