On Friday 3rd June Gerringong Pics & Flicks Inc. present “Barney’s Version” [Rated M]
Review by Margaret Pomeranz
The adaptation of Mordecai Richler's 1997 novel BARNEY'S VERSION was a project very close to the heart of Canadian producer Robert Lantos. This is about Barney, PAUL GIAMATTI, telling his story, his way. About his first marriage in Rome where he and best mate Boogie, SCOTT SPEEDMAN, live the artist life of ex-pats in 1974. And then there are the years back in Montreal where Barney becomes a successful producer of schlock television and where he meets the Jewish princess, MINNIE DRIVER, who will be his second wife. Unfortunately at his wedding he meets the woman he knows is the love of his life. She's Miriam, ROSAMUND PIKE, with whom his life will have enormous rewards and some terrible downs.
Barney is a chain-smoking, hard-drinking hockey fan. He's capricious, he's not exactly the greatest looking guy, but he has a zest for life that is incomparable and perhaps that's the reason so many women find him attractive. Creating that character has given Giamatti another great role after SIDEWAYS and HARVEY PEKAR and he runs with it, no wonder he won a Golden Globe for this. I thought he was a shoo-in for Best Actor in Venice last year where the film premiered. He's ably matched by ROSAMUND PIKE as Miriam and by DUSTIN HOFFMAN as Barney's father Izzy. The director was Richard J. Lewis who comes from a background in television. For film aficionados there are cameos by a royalty of Canadian directors - Ted Kotcheff, David Cronenberg, Denys Arcand and Atom Egoyan.
I did warm to this film enormously.
DAVID: Oh, I did too. I think it's a lovely film and a wonderful character...
DAVID: ...as he unfolds his life story, but his version of it from his point of view and it's not just that; Paul Giamatti is really, really good. What a fine actor he is.
DAVID: But it's that all the characters around him are so interesting too. Boogie, his three wives and...
MARGARET: Because there is a mystery death in the film too that...
DAVID: There is a mystery death, which sort of adds to the intrigue.
DAVID: But I also - I love Dustin Hoffman. As I've always been a big Dustin Hoffman fan and I think he's just lovely as Izzy, the father, and his son, Jake Hoffman, plays the son of the couple in the film, so that's an added sort of bonus. But it's a film which is full of incident. There are some changes from the book. The early scenes in the book were set in Paris. In the film they're set in Rome but it's not - doesn't make a great deal of difference. But it's just a film brimming with life and...
DAVID: ...and this kind of wonderfully cynical sort of thing. I love the name of the production company that he's working for, TOTALLY UNNECESSARY FILMS.
MARGARET: Yes, I know. No, it's just exuberant and poignant.
DAVID: Yes, very much so.
MARGARET: And I think Rosamund Pike is just absolutely exquisite.
DAVID: Yes, she's lovely.
MARGARET: Oh, God, she's gorgeous. Four stars from me for this film.
DAVID: And four stars from me too.