>JCVD – The review!


How’s this for follow-up? I waxed enthusiastically about it AND went to see it! This is a first for 2009! I’m talking about JCVD, of course.

I’d flagged the film in this earlier entry, and we went to see it last weekend.

Nutshell: Loved it.

Larger nutshell: The film’s plot, which I was afraid could be an elongated skit rather than a full-blown movie, was very well sustained. The script was clever and wry, the visuals appropriately moody and drab, and JCVD himself? Really, really impressive. Seriously. I was surprised and slightly shocked (having seen him, as mentioned before, in some rather integrity- and talent-challenged productions). Belgium and its public ’embrace’ of Jean-Claude was also an enjoyable and consistent element of the film, with warring popular sentiments driving the plot in key ways.

** Longer ramble below – probably chockers with spoilers **

Jean-Claude: Not lookin’ so fine and yet…

I liked the fact that ‘Jean-Claude’ (in the movie) was jaded and yet comfortable with his celebrity status. The sombre, deteriorated look of the streetscapes in Belgium, and JC himself, contrasted with what one would expect of a JC movie. Even though his flicks are consistently B- and C-grade, they were slick enough. Hardcore action fans may be disappointed with this film because it seems to be overflowing with JCVD-ness in ways that are exposing, awkward, uber-normal, and unsupported by sharp fight or car-chase scenes.

I admit to being happily pulled into this film as a play on the biopic, but accepting it to a large extent as a biopic nonetheless. It’s a perfect movie for Cinema Studies 101 courses, especially when examining notions of the subject/object (as an additional layer of control/self-promotion [?] Jean-Claude produced the movie, too). Steven Shaviro twittered that JCVD is:

“A lovely take on celebrity, on action movies vs real life, and on what to do when you’re washed up and the dream has died.”

Shaviro also writes an excellent review of the film that surpasses my meagre efforts here – it’s HERE at his blog, “The Pinocchio Theory.” I must admit to never having read or heard of Shaviro before delving around the topic of JCVD (mea culpa), and I really liked his take on the film. There’s also a slightly catty ‘interview’ with Jean-Claude in the Herald Sun HERE that also provides some interesting insight into the actor/producer’s perspective on the film (is it just me or does the reporter make fun of JC’s non-English-speakingness along the way…?). 

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