Perhaps I would have had a higher opinion of this film had I not started it with the assumption that Tom Ford’s poor aesthetic sensibilities in fashion would transfer over to film. How can you trust a man who goes four shirt-buttons down and stands slightly askance, forward, hands behind his back with a wry smile that says yes, you are right, I am bearing down on my bowels right now. But if there is anything for which I hold out even an ounce of hope, it is that something artful can be made in this period of time. While this may be a bold statement, let’s remember that last summer 9 was released—a musical remake of 8 1/2. So in a time when Fellini is too complicated and needs to be jazzed up with Dame Judy and song-and-dance numbers, it’s not entirely unreasonable to become discouraged or disillusioned.
My first assumption is that Tom Ford stayed up all night watching Mad Men and thought that he should make that again, only with gay English professors instead of advertising agents. I had a nagging feeling about 45 minutes into the film that it had not yet started, and was still simply a collage of neurotic habits and tantrums. That is to say, halfway through, there was still no substance. Colin Firth—who was absolutely delightful in Love Actually—was more than proficient at being weary, and detached from the world. However, I promised myself that if he turned his head towards the ceiling and shut his eyes one more time, I would plant a bullet in my skull. Also unnecessary: close-up shots of batting eyelashes followed by flashbacks. Okay, we get it, thanks, eyes, symbolism, great, that’s really deep, man.
There are always some consequence to letting Tom Ford into film. The same way 007’s suits were best left to Saville Row and real tailors, movies are best left to real directors. It seems that many people confuse portrayals of angst, hurt, and maladjustment as profundity. It is a film that lacks structure, order, meaning, depth, or even a story. Depression on it’s own, is not a story. A man walking through the streets buying bullets is not a story on its own. And if Tom Ford felt the need to introduce a Hispanic James Dean figure for 5 minutes, there better be a damn good reason. There wasn’t. Well, aside from Ford’s fancy for Latin men in tight shirts. On top of that, this film plugs Tanqueray, and you know how we feel about Tanqueray. So, instead:
- Watch Mad Men, read Aldous Huxley and drink a Cosmopolitan at the same time.
- Become disillusioned with your own life and contemplate suicide.
- Take it off your Queue. Or change the Channel. I don’t know.
Also, for your entertainment, here are a few photos of Tom Ford in his signature pose, as described above.