Monday, June 30, 2008

Conversations With Other Women

Conversations With Other Women is a quite remarkable film, for two reasons. Firstly, it has one of the sharpest and best scripts for ages, superbly acted, and utterly convincing. It's a character study of two people who meet up at a wedding, and, well, I really can't say any more without giving away the plot. The whole film basically consists of just these two people, played by Aaron Eckhart and Helena Bonham Carter, and it takes place in a single night. The emotional intensity they deliver is something you more normally associate with the stage, rather than the screen. However, they don't act like they're on stage; they make the events seem completely real.

The other thing that makes Conversations remarkable is that it's filmed in split screen throughout, one half focused on each of the two protagonists (mostly). It takes a little while to get used to, and I have to confess that after about 15 minutes I really wasn't sure whether I was going to sit through the rest of it. But I'm glad I did. Unlike Mike Figgis's Timecode, which is incredibly clever but unwatchable, this works really rather well. You just get used to having two viewpoints on the same scene, and effectively doing your own editing. Your eyes naturally flick between the two sides of the screen, depending on who you're interested in at any one moment. This is occasionally disorienting and disconcerting, but as a story-telling device, it's really rather effective.

Conversations is more than just a piece of technical trickery. In its way, it's as intriguing a piece of work as Memento, albeit with a focus on romance rather than action. It won't be to everyone's taste, but I'd strongly recommend that you see it and make your own mind up.

1 comment:

Hugh "Nomad" Hancock said...

Seconded. This is a superb film, and one I'm surprised didn't get more attention.