Thursday, April 24, 2008

Young Adam

Young Adam; Erotic drama, UK/ France, 2003; D: David Mackenzie, S: Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, Peter Mullan, Jack McElhone, Emily Mortimer

Glasgow, Scotland. Joe is an aimless young lad who works on one river barge under his boss Les, his wife Ella and their little son Jim. One day, Joe and Les find a corpse of a woman in the river and inform the authorities. Joe knew the girl - her name was Cathie and she had a wild affair with her, but she accidentally stumbled one night and fell into the river - yet decides not to tell anyone about it. Out of boredom, he starts an affair with Ella. As a consequence, she leaves Les. Yet, Adam doesn't want to bond with her and starts an affair with her relative Gwen. He observes the trial in which Cathie's lover Daniel, a plumber, gets wrongly sentenced for her murder.

"Young Adam" is a prety boring existential drama based on Alexander Trocchi's novel with the same name, that seems to have been influenced by Albert Camus' "Stranger". David Mackenzie directs the film as a bleak vision of a cold world, yet the whole movie is sterile, anemic, pale and simply uninteresting. All actors try their best, from Ewan McGregor up to Tilda Swinton, who bravely accepted the highly unglamorous role of the housewife Ella, yet they cannot hide that there is simply nothing there in the story - the only thing that will keep the viewer from falling asleep are the erotic scenes. There are aesthetic shots of a fly walking on Ella's nipple and Joe spanking the screaming Cathie before he 'takes' her from behind, and one can guess they are there to show the anxiousness of pointless life, but they also succeeded to show the anxiousness of the pointless story. If anything, the authors at least tried to go somewhere more contemplative towards the finale where the anti-hero, who jumps from one affair to another to escape his boring life, observes the trial that got it all wrong and accused an innocent man, subtly drawing a theme about his inability to be a part of anything in this world.


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