mon 22/04/2024

DVD: 45 Years | reviews, news & interviews

DVD: 45 Years

DVD: 45 Years

Bravura performances by Rampling and Courtenay let down by poor dialogue

Geoff (Tom Courtenay) and Kate (Charlotte Rampling)

Andrew Haigh’s portrait of a marriage on the rocks has plenty of style, and a near-funereal pace suffused with the decay that gnaws away at long-term relationships. He has also elicited brilliant performances from Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay. And yet, there is something missing, as if the characters were speaking their lines rather than living them.

The story is simple enough: the film follows Kate and Geoff, as they prepare for their 45th wedding anniversary. At the start of the week, Geoff hears that the body of his life’s love, Katya, as been discovered in the Alps, frozen in the ice after a deadly fall on a mountain hike they took in their youth. Katya’s presence in the house stirs the unease that lurks within the 45 year-old marriage. Geoff retires to the attic and looks at photographs of his long-lost love. Kate’s confidence in her husband is rattled so deep, that the marriage’s foundations start to crumble.

Charlotte Rampling gives an extraordinary performance: this is perhaps her greatest role, with every shade of feeling inscribed on her beautiful face. Tom Courtenay inhabits with immense skill the depression and resignation of a man caught in the net of repressed emotions, and a sense of a life not fully lived. These great performances are let down by dialogue that feels contrived, and the feeling that the director (who wrote the script) was unable to give his actors the space to let loose and give the film the full emotional depth the story deserves.

Haigh’s previous film Weekend suffered from the same problem, as if the characters were imprisoned by their lines rather than free to tell their story in an authentic way. 45 Years is impressive but script-bound. The film fails to conjure the almost unbearable and authentic intensity that Ingmar Bergman achieved in his explorations of the dark side of marriage, a film maker who seems to have been one of Haigh’s sources of inspiration.

there is something missing, as if the characters were speaking their lines rather than living them


Editor Rating: 
Average: 3 (1 vote)

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