Friday, January 8, 2010

Cured ham (I know, it's trafe!)

I don't know if I realized consciously that Jeff Goldblum has been a largely wasted natural resource this last 30 years, but Adam Resurrected (2008) is surely proof of the fact. Much of the film is off-putting, either in bad taste, degrading to its characters or solipsistic (if a film can be said to be self-absorbed). But Goldblum's realization of Adam Stein, the guilty Holocaust victim magician clown is both miraculous, warm and somehow natural.

For good or ill, the clown has found himself in a film by Paul Schrader, a director (and sometime writer) who evidently always wants to tell the audience to go **** itself. If Taxi Driver didn't make that clear to you, Hardcore should have. Happily, he has dropped his neo-classical stylistic trappings and caught up with 21st century filmmaking: hand-held camera, digital media, jump cuts, mismatches, CGI, etc. Given his usual challenging subject matter, in this case, madness and the Holocaust, the style seems appropriate.

The film meanders around, Adam saves a little boy from madness which seems to balance the scale for his own humiliation (and his loss of his family) and he recovers. Well, that sucks. Because a madman-clown who gets better is no fun at all.

I hope more sane people than Paul Schrader have seen this film and will cast Goldblum again as an entertainer. I think he out-Penns Penn Jillette.

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