Reviewed Jun 28, 2012
Steve Grzesiak’s review:
There are two films that I have seen for the first time over the last few months that have affected me deeply and have me thinking about them to a lesser or greater extent on an almost daily basis. One of them is Take Shelter. The other is this.
With the former, it tends to be a case of me playing back key scenes or moments of dialogue through my mind and appreciating them all over again, albeit through the fog of a generally poor memory that leads me to have to fill the blanks in through its Wikipedia entry. With the latter it's a case of trying to understand exactly what the hell happened here.
I just don't understand this film at all. IT MAKES NO SENSE. So it's a medieval comedy, fine, about rescuing a fair maiden and yadda yadda. But that doesn't explain why it's so absolutely shit. EVERYTHING about this film is shit. I mean, I haven't seen any of David Gordon Green's other stuff but I have heard great things about Pineapple Express and Eastbound And Down and some other bits and pieces, so I don't understand how he went from the critically acclaimed likes of those to a film that has not one redeeming quality to it at all.
Fair enough, I may try those at some point and find them to be crap as well, but it's not just Green. Didn't, say, Natalie Portman at some point say to him, "Hang on. This is shit. This isn't funny. Why's this guy saying something sucks in a medieval comedy? I'll show my arse only if you sort this out. This is bollocks. Look at Charles Dance over there. He was in The Jewel In The Crown, you know. Look what you've done to him."
It's so bloody awkward as well, shoehorning swearing and coarse references into every cack-covered corner of its running time, like they have to stick a blowjob euphemism in every 30 seconds or the whole wretched affair will be ruined forever. Everyone in it puts in the kinds of performances that will lead their respective children to be picked on behind the science block every lunchtime for the entirety of their schooldays. "Ha ha, Franco, your daddy's shit! Eat that cigarette dimp, you loser!"
No amount of ranting or raving is going to make me understand what has gone on here and why this has happened, though. It's like the Darfur of films.