Film Review: Golden Exits

Alex Ross Perry’s observational Golden Exits offers good performances and a meditative look at lives of young and middle-aged adults.

Naomi is a young intern who travels to New York to work temporarily with an archivist. Her arrival disrupts the lives of two families in Brooklyn…

Golden Exits revolves around the lives of a group of characters which are somewhat intertwined. The film focuses on Naomi as a catalytic force, making the main characters examine their relationship with their loved ones and themselves.

Writer-director Alex Ross Perry does not take the predictable route, and he should be applauded for this. Instead, the film concentrates on already fractious relationships. There is a certain amount of navel-gazing in the film. The protagonists are upper middle class, and imbue the trappings of this world. Some of the concerns are only applicable to those of such a class, but this is acknowledged.

The first half of Golden Exits is stronger than the second. There is an ambiguity over the direction the film will take, which holds the viewer’s attention. The second half lacks the vim of this as events unfold subtly. The relationship between the sets of sisters become more significance, as the single sisters take on more importance.

The film is about relationships, but also about being comfortable defying societal expectations. In this sense Naomi’s character extinguishes slightly. There is not much for her to do, leaving the emphasis on the two single sisters. The conversations later in the film point to an empowerment in independence, but a gnawing dissatisfaction. Save for a brief reference, it is refreshing to see adulthood being viewed without the framing reference of having children.

Emily Browning and Chloë Sevingny give decent performances. It is Mary-Louise Parker, Lily Rabe, and Jason Schwartzman who really stand out though. The score feels a little too present, whilst Brooklyn is romanticised, despite most of the action taking place in just a few locations.

Overall, it feels like Golden Exits stops just short of saying something truly meaningful.

Golden Exits is being screened at the BFI London Film Festival in October 2017.

Film Review: Red

Bruce Willis proves he is still a bona fide hero in this enjoyable action romp. Red provides enough high-octane sequences and amusing interactions to entertain throughout, but there is nothing that hasn’t been done before.

Retired CIA agent Frank Moses is enjoying his free time when he is the target of an assassination attempt. Moses decides to track down his own team to discover who is out to get him. As the group are attacked, they prove they can still hold their own, despite their advancing years…

Red keeps a steady pace; there is never a real lull in proceedings. There is nothing remarkable about the film, however. Robert Schwentke’s movie features actions and explosions, humorous banter, and the obligatory love story. None of this is particularly original; the action scenes are reminiscent of numerous films in the genre, and the humour seems to hinge almost entirely on the age of the protagonists.

Bruce Willis calls in his performance; there is nothing showcased in Red that we haven’t seen from him before. In the actors defense, however, the script does not really call for him to be stretched. Frank Moses is typical of many of the characters Willis has played before; a tough guy that overcomes despite being outnumbered, and protects those he cares about. In this case, his love interest is Mary-Louise Parker’s Sarah, who provides humour as the unwitting civilian caught up in the action because of her association with Moses.

John Malkovich is great as Marvin, Moses’ paranoid former colleague. His eccentricity is the perfect antidote for the conventional action hero Moses. Morgan Freeman and Helen Mirren add some weight to the action, with Mirren playing up the refined English lady persona with her choice of vocation. Elsewhere, Brian Cox gives a robust performance as Russian agent Ivan, adding lightness to some of the film’s more tense moments.

Red‘s action set pieces are slick, and combine well with the thumping sound to produce enjoyable spectacles. The film is rated 12A, and most of the violence is in keeping with this certification. Nevertheless, Red features images of humans exploding. Although these shots are more cartoon-like than realistic, they may be quite shocking for younger viewers.

Red is an entertaining affair, but ultimately disappoints with its lack of imagination. Enjoyable enough, but not indelible in the slightest.