Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Mirror Image

"James Miller has just written a book on the value of a copy versus the original work of art. At a book reading, a woman gives him her address, and the next day they meet and take a country-side drive to a local Italian village. Here, they discuss various works of art found in the town, and also the nature of their relationship - which gets both more revealed and concealed as the day progresses." -- from IMDb

Starring a British man and French woman, set in Italy and directed and written by an Iranian director. Dialogue in 3 different languages. Certified Copy is not your movie if you're not into foreign films. And not your film if you're not into talky dissertations on the nature of art and relationships and the perception of each.

What is really happening with this pair? Are they a couple, do they know each other, are they playing a role? Like in art, does it matter if it's the real thing if you don't know? That's the main conceit of the movie ... that their relationship is the living embodiment of the artistic/philosophical point that Miller is making in his opening speech.

Juliette Binoche, as always, is luminous. But you also get quite a bit of anger and humor out of her as well, She flips in and out of the three languages (French, Italian, English) with ease, funny in all of them. Miller is played by William Shimell, a British opera singer who has acted in only a few movies. He's fine here, but his is not the meaty role that Binoche's Elle is.

Like a lot of foreign and independent movies, Certified Copy plays more like performance art than your typical Hollywood movie. There is no action and the viewer is given a lot of the responsibility to fill in the blanks. If you don't pick up what they are trying to do, it can be confusing and boring. If I hadn't already heard several reviews of the movie prior to viewing it, I cannot guarantee that I would have caught on. Even knowing the catch, I can only say that it was mildly effective. Therefore, I would have to give this a tepid rating. Certified Copy is currently on Netflix Instant if you want to check it out. Grade: C+


wunelle said...

I saw a preview somewhere in a theater for this and it looked intriguing. But trailers are their own art form, soma review is helpful :-)

Maybe I'll catch it this next week in Louisville (where it's more likely to play than in Appleton).

wunelle said...

*so a review...*

dbackdad said...

A "soma review" would be helpful too. I think some of my reviews seem like I must have been on soma when I wrote them. :-)