Thursday, June 26, 2014

Third Person; Short Independent Film Review by Payman Akhlaghi (2014)

"Third Person" (2014), A Short Film Review
Review by Payman Akhlaghi (2014, Draft 5)

(*) First published on June 26th, 2014 on under "A Short Review of "Third Person" (2014).

"Third Person", written and directed by Paul Haggis, begins -- and ends -- with a man writing at a desk, who hears the echo of a child from the behind, "Watch me". An unmistakable air of tragic love, loss, grief, remorse, and loneliness has filled the quiet of the hotel room. With little pause, the scene gives way to a tapestry of sophisticated variations on a singular theme: the love for, and the loss of, a child.

Whether the seed idea is thought of as an actual event in the life of the author, or it's meant to be a mere figment of his imagination,it's diffracted, reassembled and evolved into three salient character complexes each reflecting an aspect of it: the author, his wife, his young lover, and her lover-dad; an American businessman, his estranged wife, a Roma woman, her thuggish man; a young distracted woman, her boy taken away from her, her ex-husband, and her ex's new woman. Each relationship pair suffers in one way or another the very present absence of a child. Besides their essential thematic relation, the three complexes have enough overlap -- locations, incidents -- combined with convergent arcs to produce necessary cohesion and avoid an episodic feel.

The ensemble cast, including Liam Neeson, Olivia Wilde, Adrien Brody, Moran Atias, Mila Kunis, and James Franco, bring as much contrast and intensity that the story could afford to their respective roles. The music by Dario Marianelli, performed by the Symphony Orchestra of Belgium, with himself at the piano, mirrors and underscores the organic crescendo of the screenplay with a quasi-minimalistic circularity, an increasingly layered orchestration, and a lively texture. The cinematography and edit hide their evident skills masterfully in the service of the narrative.

The thrust of this creative delight of a film, however, may be seen as its utter trust in the humanity of its characters, even those with the worst of flaws. The empathic attachment builds successfully toward a witty ending, as each characters fades out of the life of the author, one by one, away from each other, emphasizing their fictional existence in the actual plain of the world of the author.

(*) This is an original note by Payman Akhlaghi, a musician by inclination and education.
(*) was briefly consulted for artists' credits.

© 2014, Payman Akhlaghi. All rights reserved.

(*) Payman Akhlaghi is a composer, pianist and piano teacher based in Los Angeles. His repertoire covers Classical music, as well as Persian (Iranian) Music, Pop Music, and Film Music. For information on the lessons in the Greater Los Angeles area, including Beverly Hills, West Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Encino, Brentwood, etc. please call: 310-208-2927. Thank you.

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