It’s at times like these I feel the smallest tingles of trepidation. Writing a review for a movie that’s already garnered plenty of awards and critical acclaim and, yet, that wasn’t really liked by little old me. Does that show up my ignorance, my lack of culture, my ability to only enjoy the most mundane and mainstream fare? I sincerely hope not and I hope that others can always remember that I watch anything and everything that comes my way with equal optimism.
Tangled Up In Blue is all about a young man who claims to be a writer despite never having published anything and who is very much in love with a friend who knows nothing about his feelings. It’s also about the man’s father, a world-renowned Iraqi writer and professor who was assassinated. As our protagonist listens to recordings of his father and battles with himself over whether or not to get a book published by using his father’s name we get to see how someone deals with feelings for a country he has been taught to love but will never see, feelings of alienation and regret and even the worry of trying to achieve something that seems unattainable, especially when compared to what your parents managed to achieve and endure. It’s about all of these things and more, thanks to the grind of daily life in the modern machinery of London’s ever-turning engine.
Sadly, none of these things can make the movie all that interesting. There are so many things touched on here that it’s a shame none of them are given a little bit more time and care. Yes, all of the things going on feed into the main character and inextricably weave through his life but the same can be said for any character in “This Life”.
The movie would very much appear to be a labour of love from director Haider Rashid (who also helped write the thing) but a labour of love isn’t always the best thing for audiences to have to sit through, unless your name is Vincent Gallo and you’re able to watch a triple-bill of Vincent Gallo movies.
The acting from the two main leads, Ian Attfield and Zoe Rigby, is generally very good. It’s natural and believable, these people are very real people and that’s a definite plus for the film. But these very real people don’t seem to change in any way from the start of the movie up to the very end, there’s no character developments here as far as I can make out. Yes, we find out more about those onscreen but we are finding out what has always been under the surface as opposed to seeing actual changes come about in any way.
The dialogue is okay and it’s clear that the movie is trying to make a number of important, heartfelt points but the whole project feels like it would be much more suited to the form of stage play or ever radio play. There’s nothing here that feels as if it needs the medium of cinema to deliver the message.
I stuck with it until the end but it was a bit of a chore at times and I’m sorry to say that I wouldn’t rush to recommend this to anyone. Many others would rush to disagree.
Just as a footnote, I should mention that at least one one critic has gone out of his way to comment that this film “will go down in history as the first Iraqi-Italian” co-production” and this may be another plus for any viewers who have found themselves in similiar cultural circumstances and who wish to see that particular sensation explored onscreen.
Tangled Up In Blue is out in UK cinemas 27th October 2010.
DIRECTOR: HAIDER RASHID
CAST: IAN ATTFIELD, ZOE RIGBY, FALAH HASHIM, GRAHAM BOWE, ANGELA PETERS
RUNTIME: 85 MINUTES APPROX