Thursday, June 18, 2015

Movie with Abe: The Face of an Angel

The Face of an Angel
Directed by Michael Winterbottom
Released June 19, 2015

When an event occurs and receives major press coverage, the news ends up spreading and more people around the country and world become aware that it has happened. After some time, the story compounds itself and those reporting on it often become a part of it. “The Face of an Angel” uses different names but tells the story of Amanda Knox, an American exchange student arrested and wrongly convicted for the murder of her British roommate while studying in Italy. Knox’s alter ego Jessica Fuller (Genevieve Gaunt) is not the star of this film, however. For their roles in the story, a top journalist and visiting filmmaker become the subjects of this cinematic account of the media sensation.

Thomas (Daniel Bruhl) is a renowned filmmaker looking for his next big project following an ugly public divorce in Hollywood. He arrives in Italy and connects with Simone (Kate Beckinsale), a freelancer who has extensively covered the case. His interest in Jessica and her story only grows over the course of the film as he uncovers inconsistencies and surprises that suggest that not all the facts are known and that there is deep darkness hidden beneath the surface. His dedication to making a film that tells the truth is met with trepidation by his backers, who want a movie audiences can get behind and where they don’t need to work out its ending for themselves.

Seeing this story from the twice-removed perspective of a filmmaker hearing about it from a journalist who has covered the event is meant to add both mystery and depth, and while the former is achieved, the latter is not since it lacks the necessary pull to compel viewers to watch attentively. The film is like Thomas’ planned film, not eager to divulge facts or explain what actually happened, but instead to present things as they are, intriguing, suspicious, and uncertain.

German-raised Bruhl is experimenting with English-speaking roles with various success, triumphing in “Rush” and in most other instances failing to get worthwhile parts that permit him to use his talents. Thomas is prickly and devoid of many positive qualities, making him a difficult stand-in for the audience on this investigative journey. Beckinsale made for a compelling reporter in “Nothing but the Truth,” and adds little here. Director Michael Winterbottom, who has helmed projects as diverse as “The Look of Love,” “The Killer Inside Me,” and “A Mighty Heart,” has made a film that should be interesting but unfortunately takes the wrong approach to entice its audience.


No comments: