A movie which feels very much like a theatrical play in which Patrick Stewart, and company, put on such good performances that it helps remind you they aren’t just their most well-known roles.
Review (with Spoilers) – Below
Characters & Story
Tobi (Patrick Stewart) has long since stopped dancing professionally, but to stay on the scene he has taken to teaching at Julliard and interacting with the next generation of dancers. Enter Lisa (Carla Gugino) and Mike (Matthew Lillard) who come into Tobi’s life under the guise of Lisa doing a dissertation on dance. Something which absolutely tickles Tobi, until he learns the truth about their visit. Which is Mike and Lisa looking for closure so that, perhaps, Mike can move on and Lisa may get the man she fell in love with back.
Since seeing Lillard take on Shaggy in the Scooby Doo franchise, I have found myself thinking that is all he can do. However, him going toe to toe with the masterful Patrick Stewart has changed my opinion. For while Shaggy I still feel is a strong part of his persona, his portrayal as Mike, the abandoned child of a world class dancer, has allowed me to see he can be more than one iconic character.
Now, as for Stewart, he goes full thespian in this role and with the tightness of the location, it is almost as if you are being treated to a rather cheap opportunity to see him perform on stage. For with his scenes with Gugino, whose ability to crack open her co-stars’ characters is an under-praised talent, we get to understand the complexities which come from denying your child to save your career. Something which seems so inherently selfish, as Mike points out, that it gives the desire to dislike Tobi. However, Stewart’s charm and charisma surpass any actor you can think of and it makes you question if the man played a serial killer, could he possibly charm you into thinking it was all in self-defense?
Being that Gugino and Lillard are nowhere near Stewart’s level, I would argue that he overpowered them in some scenes. Especially with Gugino, who he shares the most screen time with, for even if he and her were in conversation, his performance placed a shadow on hers and with each line she sort of faded away. Making it almost like he was having a monologue with her as someone simply in the first row of the theater.
Outside of that, I must admit I did sometimes feel that Lisa’s character perhaps would have made a better possible daughter, if only because the trailer led me to such assumptions. Though considering how close the two got in the film, I think it would have been a better match because there was such a beautiful father/daughter type build. That is opposed to Tobi and Mike’s relationship which primarily is yelling, posturing, and eventual acceptance.
Overall: TV Viewing
What makes this TV Viewing is Stewart didn’t dial things down, nor did Gugino or Lillard seem up to the task of really going into artistic battle with Stewart. Instead, Gugino seems struck in awe and Lillard seemingly attempts to prove he is worth being in the same film and loses with grace. With that said, though, I do feel this film does well for Stewart and definitely, makes me excited for this Blunt Talk series to be released later this year. If only because he is supposed to play a pompous Brit, making me wonder if he can turn his usual charm 180° and become someone you just love to hate.