|Film review: Le Week-End|
|Written by Andrew Jones|
|Thursday, 10 October 2013 16:43|
Director: Roger Michell
Le Week-End sees Nick (Broadbent) and Meg (Duncan) travel to Paris for an inspirational and romantic break away from the family. He is a professor with a secret to tell his wife, while she finds it hard to look at her husband with affectionate eyes; together, they will clash heads for two days until they are totally miserable.
It's hard to climb back from a catastrophe like last year's Hyde Park on Hudson, but director Roger Michell makes it seem like an impossibly steep slope: Le Week-End doesn't show any quality in its writing or visuals, despite strong performers giving it a try.
Early in the film, we see Meg looking out of a taxi window in awe of the city, but never once do we see an image that befits such awe; every shot looks uninvolved, never postcard-esque, providing a dull, drab background for little real drama.
The key issue, though, is the script. Le Week-End aims to be a Before Sunrise-type film, but set later in life - older people trying to work out if they've wasted their lives and finding conflict in the little things that annoy one another - but it doesn't understand how Richard Linklater's masterpieces work. The Before films look at niggling issues, but at their hearts we know there's life and love; Le Week-End scrapes the surface of that, but opts for conflict-resolution, conflict-resolution as a structure. Something will come up and within minutes it is resolved, but that doesn't lead to the next conflict; it just arises randomly, making nothing feel organic or earned.
Jeff Goldblum tries to smile through a slight role as an old pal much richer than Nick, who shows how happy he is, despite listening to Jim Broadbent being sad. Meanwhile, there's a scene where Jim is on all fours in a hotel room staring at, and asking to sniff, his wife's vagina. Nightmares are made of that stuff.
Le Week-End never meets its cast with a screenplay of any quality, while its tone changes rapidly from unfunny comedy to mean drama. It’s a real shame; something that could have been intriguing just becomes tedious.