Directed by Noah Baumbach
Written by Noah Baumbach.
Novel by Don DeLillo
Adam Driver, Greta Gerwig, Don Cheadle, Raffey Cassidy, Lars Eidinger, Sam Nivola, May Nivola, Henry Moore, Dean Moore, Danny Wolohan,
In 1984, revered College professor J.A.K ‘Jack’ Gladney (Driver) teaches Hitler studies and has been running his program with awe from both his colleagues and his students for 16 years. He is married to Babette (Gerwig – wife of director Baumbach, and an Academy Award nominated director herself), his fourth wife, and he her fourth husband. With four kids from former marriages and their own, they frequently talk of death, and how life may be after such an incident. When a major event occurs on the outskirts of town, the life they know is thrown into chaos.
I knew very little about this going in, and if you haven’t seen it and do not know much about it, I will try to keep my review as brief as possible in regards to ‘The Event’ and what it entails.
Firstly I want to commend the acting, not just from Driver and Gerwig, but also the child actors as well – they are heavy participants within the story and they are remarkbable young actors. While Cassidy is in her 20s, her on screen siblings Sam and May Nivola (children of fellow actors Alessandro Nivola and Emily Mortimer), are equally as brilliant in their respective roles. Driver however gets MVP here as the ‘middle aged’ Gladley (I for one was taken aback by this line as I am a few weeks older than Driver 😮 ). I’ve only recently come to respect his acting ability – and he shines here.
The music from the legendary composer Danny Elfman is front and center in some scenes, and his gothic style complements the movie well.
The setting of 1984 is also well done, with the colourful moments within the sets. The 6 minute sequence throughout the closing credits just goes to show how impressive the set departments ability. The homes also have a very 80s feel to them.
The dialogue is also brilliant, with scenes that are just amazing to watch in how they would have not only scripted, but also filmed/edited it. When Cheadle’s Murray is trying to sell his Elvis studies idea, and he is molologuing against Driver is one stand out.
What didn’t work was the narrative arc. It is possible that I am not overly keen on absurdist humor – the script jumped around – and what was going to be the primary storyline – doesn’t end up being the primary story. It changes gears in the second act – and we then are given a different type of movie altogether. I almost thought I was in another Baumbach/Driver collaboration. I for one found this frustrating – although it does give some magnificent performances by the leads.
If you’re a fan of absurdist humor, one such movie also starring Driver is The Dead Don’t Die, which comes to mind, then you will enjoy this. Otherwise, I do not recommend it.
I gave it a go, but ultimately I can’t say I enjoyed the “primary” story, or the movie in general. It wasn’t something I found interesting, and wish the focus was on the mid-movie “secondary” storyline.