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Short Takes: Trishna, Neil Young Journeys

Quick looks at Trishna and Neil Young Journeys

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Trishna | C+

 

Chameleon filmmaker Michael Winterbottom transposes Tess of the D'Urbervilles to contemporary India and puts the beautiful Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) through the hell of poverty, male entitlement and, inevitably, physical and spiritual rape. There are stunning sequences that capture the color and chaos of the country's crowded landscapes to be sure, but this merciless adaptation of Thomas Hardy's tragedy of class and sexism becomes schematically sadistic. Things start off promising, but, by the time the final reel rolls, Winterbottom's too-detached style seems to be willfully wallowing in oversimplified misery. There is a difference between sympathy and empathy. Trishna's tragic fate incites the former but neither the director nor the captivating Pinto are able to inspire the latter.

 

 

Neil Young Journeys | B-

 

Does the world really need another Neil Young movie? According to Jonathan Demme, yes. The third, and least, in his triptych, Journeys has neither the emotional potency of Heart of Gold nor the raucous energy of Trunk Show. Still, this road trip reverie — from Young's Ontario hometown Omemee to a two-night concert at Toronto's Massey Hall — is an amiably spare and intimate conclusion. So intimate that the camera lens is occasionally hit with spittle. Most of the music is from Young's recent Le Noise album, with a smattering of unlikely hits from his past — the best of which is the politically bruising "Ohio." In interview, the durable rocker and his younger brother Bob prove to be honest and unpretentious company. For fans, Journeys is like that box set of uneven rarities that they simply must own. For casual friends, it's 90 minutes in good company. For the rest — ho-hum.

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