'Finnegans Wake' Movie Review
Hollywood, November 9, 2007 -- Oliver Stone’s latest movie, Finnegans Wake is based on the James Joyce novel by the same name and takes us on a curious journey from somewhere to somewhere else with a few twists along the road. Harold Pinter, English author and winner of the 2005 Nobel Prize in Literature, assisted Mr. Stone with moving the book from words to actions by solidifying the screenplay.
Mr. Stone explained that this movie was one of the toughest projects he has ever undertaken and that even he wasn’t really sure what the movie was about : “I sort of think that Finnegans Wake is a movie that could be interpreted as telling the history of humankind, but told in a new way as it’s centered on a primal family and told through a dream, perhaps.”
Mr. Pinter added: "Finnegans Wake has enough dodgy writing where even a Nobel Laureate occasionally feels at a loss for words."
Mr. Stone and Mr. Pinter aren’t alone in finding it difficult to explain what Finnegans Wake is.
One audience member, Kyle Ramirez, said: “It was a big time chick flick. Way too much kissing.”
Mr. Ramirez’s girlfriend, Juanita Goldberg, disagreed: “I didn’t see one kiss. I thought it was a horror film. I was so scared.”
Another audience member, Leo Gray, interjected: “What movie were you two in? It was hilarious! Clearly it was a comedy. Wasn’t it?”
While one may question the type of the movie, there are no such doubts in relation to the acting. The dream protagonist, Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, is deftly played by an Irish-accented Jude Law. Mr. Law holds his own during the scenes when you are sure he is actually in the scene. The waking protagonist, Porter, who may or may not be the same as Humphrey Chimpden Earwicker, is convincingly portrayed by Donald Sutherland. Mr. Sutherland’s mumbling is among the best mumbling in the movie. Demi Moore is enthralling in her role as Earwicker’s wife Ann, who becomes the source of all life. Additionally, Ms. Moore was made for the part of playing a river.
Their children, who go by many different names throughout the movie, but are occasionally referred to as daughter Isabel, played by Paris Hilton, and twin sons Kevin and Jerry, played by Cole and Dylan Sprouse, respectively. Ms. Hilton is stunning and draws the audience into viewing the movie through her eyes – total confusion. The Sprouse twins are a bit over the top in their cuteness while dueling with destiny and their ultimate destruction through erection -- keep in mind, however, that over the top cuteness worked well for their mentors, Mary-Kate Olsen and Ashley Olsen.
Cameo appearances by Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson provided one of the funniest and most memorable moments of the film as they play Mutt and Jute during a prehistorical vignette which ended with the following hilarious exchange:
Mutt (Stiller) -- Ore you astoneaged, jute you?
Jute (Wilson) -- Oye am thonthorstrok, thing mud.
The main storyline could possibly be interpreted as following the trials and tribulations of Earwicker as he builds eternal and indestructible cities that mutate and constantly require reconstruction as the sin of sexuality which allows for their construction also contain within them the seeds for their destruction (or something like that). Kevin and Jerry are opposing forces with each sharing a different part of the power of their father as city builders, but they can’t get it together and thus continue to degenerate as the river, their mother, continues to flow toward something that seems to be bad, but it’s not clear if it is. The daughter appears to be involved in some things, but it is difficult to determine what they were or why. Porter’s drunken interludes provide for some moments of funny sounds. Oh yeah, at one point a baby cries from a nursery room upstairs. Of that, I am certain.
In conclusion, I feel that a fellow audience member, Janet Ballington, summed up my opinion of the movie best when she said: “At least this is one movie that is totally true to the book…I didn’t understand that and I sure as hell have no idea what it was that I just watched.”
By Pierre van Bruschi, Avant News Movie Reviewer
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