Movie Review - Young Adam

Was feeling bored on Saturday, so I went to catch Young Adam at the Singapore Film Festival. I briefly scanned the synopsis before getting the ticket, and was completely unprepared for Ewan McGregor, Tilda Swinton, and Emily Mortimer1 appearing onscreen. The tone of Scottish desolation, with a blanket of fog-grey that seemed to rest upon the movie, seemed an appropriate reflection of 1950s Glasgow, and of my mood - after all, I was watching a movie alone on a Saturday night. There was a strong suggestion of an utter lack of options in that life, what with the claustrophobia of the boat and the desperation and despair in the sex scenes between Joe and Ella (McGregor and Swinton)2. The movie meanders near the end though - the tortured Joe-Ella affair and its parallel with the Joe-Cathy relationship is spoilt, one thinks, by the sexual omnivorousness of Joe, who can't seem to bump into a married woman without taking his pants off. But then I suppose one could argue that the cold sexual interactions just illustrate Joe's general callousness. There's an unfeeling, unforgiving, hard quality to the landscape, and it seems to be breathed into the fibre of Joe's being. It seems as though the director (David Mackenize) wants us to feel that this alienation is part of the human condition. At the end of the movie, I'm still not completely convinced that this is true, instead of the alienation just being part of Joe's character, but the film's stark, spare style did leave an imprint.

1I spent the whole movie trying to remember the last movie I saw Mortimer in - it was The 51st State.

2As is his wont when he appears in an indie film, Ewan McGregor shows off his light sabre in the movie. I was just surprised that in a film that had so much sex in it, it took one hour before there was a full frontal of him...


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