Monday, September 15, 2008

And then the stars came out, De Niro, Pacino, Stuffy, 50Cents ...

There are a number of things in life which should probably be thought of as a "tick in the box" event, something to be enjoyed at least once before one shuffles off the mortal coil. I've ticked a few of those in my life so far, (I remember a particular rainy weekend in Yorkshire with a pair of twins from the Harrogate beach volleyball team), however, as a film buff it was a great treat yesterday evening to be ticking off the "attend a full-on film premiere" box.

Clutching our invitations to the first UK showing of Righteous Kill, suited and booted, (although Mrs Stuffy vetoed the electric blue Boateng suit) we made our way to London's heaving Leicester Square and stepped onto the vast expanse of the red carpet.

As we'd arrived late-ish, (heavy traffic and the thronging star-watchers) it was only occupied by a plethora of security chaps, one Mark Ronson (who is apparently adept at changing the discs on a gramophone), Robert de Niro and Al Pacino, how splendid !

The hordes of paparazzi make it a very weird experience but I did my best to look as if this is something one does every day as we trundled past the thespians and the proferrers of autograph books. The press, focused on the diminutive and drably dressed actors (oh how I wish I'd gone for the luminous suit) did not call for me to smile for them and our promenade into the cinema was over all too quickly. Once inside, we were herded (past the corralled media types) seat-ward, pausing only to snaffle popcorn and sweets.

The audience spent the next 20 minutes incurring whiplash and neck strain trying to spot someone more famous than "that girl from the Bill!" to no avail. The cinema full, we were introduced to a couple of suits from the production company who thanked their mums and introduced the director, Jon Avnet who thanked his mum, then introduced Bobby and Al (as I've come to know them). A wave, a smile and on with the show.

It's a very good film, but not a great film. Al and Bob are really getting the hang of this acting thing and play well off each other. There's not the intensity of the famous scene (only 6 minutes!) in Heat but there is a nice subtlety in the relationship and the roles. Interestingly (contrary to type) de Niro plays the apparent hothead and Pacino the cooler, more controlled character. Brian Dennehy is wasted and 50 Cents adds nothing but Carla Gugino makes a believable and attractive contribution.
The story is written by the chap who wrote 'Inside Man' and there are echoes of that excellent film. I also had deja vu moments from 'The Usual Suspects' and 'Basic Instinct' as the writer suggested clues, deployed red herrings and misdirected the unwary audience. Full of twists, some obvious, some less so, it makes for an enjoyable movie experience as I'd have said to Bob and Al if they hadn't naffed off after ten minutes to get to the after-show party before the unwashed masses arrived.
So, a big tick in the box marked "walk the red carpet" and a thumbs up from myself and Mrs Stuffy (who stayed awake and quite alert throughout).


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