Sunday, July 12, 2009

Man on Film: Away We Go

Well, I'm back.

I successfully avoided the internet almost entirely for the past two weeks--a detoxification if you will.

I guess we'll see how my 70-hour-per-week work schedule and the acquisition of a PS3 affect my output from here on out.

But let's move past the apology.

The Special Lady Friend and I saw Away We Go on Thursday.

We both really liked it.

Perhaps it is that the subject matter spoke to us, as thirtysomethings (I'm less than a month away...) who have yet to carve out their niche in adulthood, but this film was pretty great.

Sam Mendes's last film, Revolutionary Road, looked less than appealing to me. As his first feature film since 2005's solid-if-not-amazing Jarhead, Revolutionary Road struck me from afar as a suburban melodramatic period piece pandering for Oscar nominations.

With that in the back of my head, I went into Away We Go with virtually no expectations. I had only a vague idea as to what the film was going to be about. I knew Minnie Riperton's daughter would be in it. I knew it had John Krasinski. I may or may not have known that Dave Eggers (who I have mixed feelings about) and wife wrote the screenplay.

So with the lack of expectations I had for the film, I have to say I was enamored with Away We Go.

Krasinski and Rudolph aptly embodied the malaise of the go-nowhere thirtysomethings who have fallen astray of the socially-ordained life path. As their unmarried-and-expecting couple strikes out to find their place in the world, hilarity, hijinx, and self-realization ensue. Mendes has for the fifth straight time, made a film entirely unlike every other in his filmography. This is at the very least a sign of a skilled director, as this is at least four of five films that has excelled in their respective genres.

To say I was surprised by the wit, heart, and understated nature of the film would be an understatement. Perhaps it was the Juno-esque ad campaign that set the sights so low, but Away We Go was not saddled with horribly unrealistic dialogue, a cast of caricatures, and an irritatingly indie-pastiche soundtrack. Enriched by a subtler soundtrack almost entirely consistent of Alexi Murdoch tunes, the soundtrack compliments the film without distracting. No performances stick out as being anything less than on point.

Maybe having read this reaction will set your expectations impossibly high, but I cannot intimate to you how utterly surprised and delighted I was by this film.


Whit said...

So you are capable of being positive about something. Nice.

Old Man Duggan said...

It just so happens that I loved "Once" even after you recommended it.

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