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 Filmoshpere Review of Welcome To The Rileys

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Nun With a Gun

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Join date : 2010-04-10

Filmoshpere Review of Welcome To The Rileys Empty
PostSubject: Filmoshpere Review of Welcome To The Rileys   Filmoshpere Review of Welcome To The Rileys Icon_minitimeMon Oct 25, 2010 11:26 pm

At 45 years old,Ridley Scott's son doesn't really have to prove his qualities as a director. Already director of a rather confidential feature film in 1999, "Guns 1748", and of many music videos for Radiohead, U2, REM or Cypress Hill, here is a director who takes his time to assert himself and make a name for himself in the film industry, like his father or his uncle. Things could speed up for Jake Scott with Welcome to the Rileys, selected at Sundance and Deauville this year, and which proves to be a nice little surprise. We expected Jake Scott as an image artist, we found Jake Scott as a great director of actors, surrounded by a cast alternating safe choices and absolute breakthrough. Indeed if the bare minimum expected of James Gandolfini is the usual excellence, we did not expect much of Kristen Stewart, excellent in Into the Wild or The Runaways, but too dull in the Twilight saga. And she proves here with a certain talent - even if she has a hard time to let go of her angry teenager look - that she'll easily negotiate the rest of her career once the crappy vampiric saga is over and forgotten. Welcome to the Rileys won't revolutionize U.S. indies but the film offers a sensitive, realistic drama, quite well done even if it won't necessarily leave its mark in our memories.

Welcome to the Rileys is built on a relatively conventional screenplay idea, namely an outside character with a behavior difficult to control that will allow a drifting couple to get back together, stronger than before. We quickly understands that it is about an impossible mourning, the loss of a child, the kind of event that disrupts a life and can make it hell for a couple. The loss of the fruit of love, is there something worse? Hard to say but this is the main theme developed by Welcome to the Rileys. This is the story of a couple that hit rock bottom, really, and who has no real solution to recover. Depression, adultery, lies, these are the outlets of the Rileys. Illusory rays of sunlight, so much that the only way out is escape. A final unexpected, cruel tragedy rushes things further: Doug Riley has to go, away from his wife, away from the memory of his daughter who died too soon. And it's an unlikely meeting that will make him enjoy life again, a pattern of redemption seen again and again, effective but lacking in originality.

If we feel like we already know the rest, we get hooked by the overall sobriety nonetheless. The emotion never goes too far, it is often absent for that matter. However the time of a few scenes that seem common, Jake Scott succeeds, thanks to his excellent actors, to give rise to it totally naturally and therefore in an extremely powerful way. A moment of isolation in a garage illuminated by the glow of a lighter and a cigarette, a meeting in a strip club, and especially a sequence of reunions in the urban turmoil so fraught with meaning and hope that it's gut-wrenching. But later on, Welcome to the Rileys goes back to something quite flat, not necessarily bad but without real depth. We're never surprised, and this is not the ultra conventional conclusion that will change the deal. Having said that, the film is held by its performers, incredible throughout the whole movie.

Jake Scott, well accustomed to visual eccentricities in his music videos, packs it all in a fairly conventional way, if not impersonal. Sobriety is appropriate and it's ultimately the right choice. Sometimes the director allows himself some pretty cool effects, the time of a not disgusting sequence shot or in some really stylish night scenes, but overall nothing differentiates Welcome to the Rileys with another production built for Sundance . What really makes the difference from others is the casting. Melissa Leo, already incredible in Frozen River, delivers a performancestriking with realism. James Gandolfini is just perfect for this role, the former Tony Soprano being able to carry a film on his own shoulders and his eyes, he impresses permanently. And the real surprise is Kristen Stewart, as a young prostitute, who finally breaks her gullible romantic image. Good choice.

Briefly ...
Sundance's independent dramas are all the same. Welcome to the Rileys doesn't revolutionize anything and revolves around a pattern we've seen again and again, without much originality. However Jake Scott is proving to be an extraordinary director of actors and allows the central trio of the cast to deliver amazing performances. In the lead a Kristen Stewart who's not afraid to shatter her image so Twilight doesn't stick to her, good for her, and a James Gandolfini just immense. But all this won't preclude Welcome to the Rileys to blend into the mass of movies released, dull and without exception.

by Nicolas Gilli
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