Saturday, June 18, 2005

A Series of Unfortunate Events

... no, not my life, but the film based on the popular series of books by Lemony Snicket ... Managed to catch it the other evening and ... hmmm ... not sure what to make of it. The design is very eyecatching and seems to be a mix of Beetlejuice, Batman and The Nightmare Before Christmas - everything is sharp and darkly perfect. The plot follows the adventures of the Baudelaire children who are orphaned when their parents are killed in a house fire and who have to go and stay with the somewhat eccentric Count Olaf. Olaf is played by Jim Carrey and his opening scenes looked to me rather like a slowed down version of The Mask. Carrey is incapable of playing a serious part and so goofs and mugs his way through the film taking on a couple of other personas along the way. The film for me was stolen by Violet, the eldest sister. She was brilliant. In control and superbly played, and very watchable indeed. I loved the subtitle captions for the utterings of the baby as well and these had me laughing out loud. Overall all the cast was exceptional, with really not a foot wrong anywhere. Otherwise the film lurches along as the kids are sent to stay with other relatives (including a wonderfully eccentric turn by Meryl Streep) and Olaf tries to get them back so that he can inherit the fortune that goes with them. It was certainly an enjoyable romp and of note is the music - by Thomas Newman who also provided the haunting score for the TV series Six Feet Under. This underpins much of the precise imagery and adds to the feeling of a film which has had a lot of love and care put into it at every level, and which Carrey *just* mangages to stay as a part of, rather than making it just another vehicle for his comedy.

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