Quirky and quite wonderful....
from Somerset UK
, 08 May 2009
The great thing about watching movies is that every now and again a film comes at you from left field that is so unusual that when youve turned off the DVD player you find yourself sitting back quietly and mulling over what youve just seen. Its when you feel that warm glow beginning to spread up from your toes and you find theres a daft smile on your face that you know youve just seen something rather special.
Dean Spanleys one of those, but I guarantee if you tried to explain the plot to anyone theyd think you were several sandwiches short of a picnic.
Ill have a go, though
Set in 1904, it revolves around the relationship between the long suffering Henslowe Fisk (Jeremy Northam) and his ailing, crusty curmudgeon of a father played effortlessly by Peter OToole. Every Thursday, a duty bound Fisk Junior visits his dad and in a futile attempt to maintain an ever weakening bond of affection, the two of them trundle off to art galleries and lectures. Its when Fisk Junior sees an advertisement for a talk on the transmogrification of souls (thats reincarnation to you and me) by an Indian swami and they meet fellow audience member, clergyman Dean Spanley (Sam Neill) that their lives are changed for ever.
And if you think Im gonna try and fill out the rest of it, youve got a another think coming.
Memo to whom it may concern as if anyone should need reminding - : There should be a Preservation Order slapped on Peter OToole with immediate effect. Like the old pro he is, he walks away with every damned scene, but thats not to detract in any way from the rest of the small (but beautifully formed) cast who clearly had the time of their lives. How the director Toa Fraser managed to gather players of this quality together (for Im guessing not a lot of dosh) should be required study at any film school. Sam Neills performance as the Dean who, when plied with ever increasing tipples of Imperial Tokay (the bottles of which were once opened only by royal decree
!), begins to expand on what he pertains to be his past life is also a standout.
Whimsical is the adjective that springs to mind and indeed its the one most used by the cast in the interviews in the Special Features. Its also poignant and in many ways rather topical. It is also very, very funny.
So if youre looking for something a little different, take a look. Indulge yourself
youve earned it.
Oh, and one last thing; if the final scene with Peter OToole doesnt make your heart skip a beat, you have no soul
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