Boogie Woogie (15)

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The ViewBirmingham Review

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Review byMatthew Turner16/04/2010

Two out of Five stars
Running time: 95 mins

Disappointing black comedy-drama that falls horribly flat as a satire, struggles to find the right tone and wastes a talented ensemble cast in the process.

What's it all about?
Directed by Duncan Ward, Boogie Woogie is based on the 2000 novel by screenwriter Danny Moynihan and stars Danny Huston as dishonourable art dealer Art Spindle, who's desperate to get his hands on the titular Piet Mondrian painting, which is owned by the aged Alfred Rhinegold (Christopher Lee) and his wife Alfreda (Joanna Lumley). However, Art faces competition in the form of his rival Bob Maclestone (Stellan Skarsgard), who's being urged on by his lover, gallery owner Beth Freemantle (Heather Graham).

Meanwhile, Bob's wife Jean (Gillian Anderson) is having an affair with up-and-coming young artist Jo Richards (Jack Huston); pretty much every straight male in the film attempts to seduce micro-skirted young gallery assistant Paige Oppenheimer (Amanda Seyfried); and struggling curator Dewey Dalamanatousis (Alan Cumming) spirals into a nervous breakdown after Art rejects his exhibition proposal and his lesbian video artist client Elaine (Jaime Winstone) ends their professional relationship.

The Bad
In the right hands and with a decent script, this could have been a Robert Altman-style attempt at biting satire. Instead, it misses the mark completely, despite having the likes of Damien Hirst on hand as a consultant.

The biggest problem is that the film struggles to find the right tone throughout, never quite sure if it wants to go for out-and-out black comedy, biting satire or more serious drama and, as a result, it fails at all three. Similarly, none of the characters are remotely likeable so you don't particularly care about any of them and they quickly get on your nerves as a result.

The Worse
As if that wasn't bad enough, the film completely wastes its talented cast by giving them next to nothing to do, although it does find time for some naked shenanigans between Jaime Winstone and Heather Graham, if you like that sort of thing.

Worth seeing?
In short, this is something of a disappointment, particularly given the ensemble cast involved – it falls horribly flat as a satire and fails to convince on an emotional level. Best avoided.

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Content updated: 22/07/2018 08:10

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