Starring Bradley Cooper, Dennis Quaid, Jeremy Irons
Written and directed by Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal
IMDB Rating: 7.1
A classy and real film that tests the audiences morals – and their attention span.
The layered story follows young Rory Jansen (Cooper), a failing writer, who stumbles upon an extraordinary unpublished novel while in Paris. He takes it back to America and publishes it – word for word – as his own work. As the novel achieves unprecedented success, he is confronted by the old man who wrote it himself (Irons) – forcing him to look at himself and face the moral cost of what he has done.
This is a good story, looking at the idea of stealing someone else’s skills for personal gain, and the lengths people will go when desperate for success. I also like the way that the film is narrated over by each of the three main characters at some point in the film. The thing that lets this down is the drama, or lack of it. There is very few scenes that excite you as I think this film wants us to look at ourselves more than it. Almost like going to a psychiatrist. The film drags, the back-story to the stolen book takes up about twenty minutes of the whole film, and I don’t think it really needed to be that long or that detailed. It has a very real feel to it, and the characters reactions to certain situations feel as natural as anything that I’ve seen in a film. The problem is, people in the large part don’t want to see ‘real’. I’m sure people will disagree, but I see cinema as more of an entertainment than an art form, and while it all feels lifelike it doesn’t entertain. I get lifelike everyday, when I see a film I want to see something different, something exciting or dramatic, and that cannot be found in The Words. Much like the story the characters are real, but unimaginative.
Cooper delivers a solid if unspectacular performance as the lead, Rory Jansen. However the best performance for me was by Jeremy Irons, playing the old man whose work Jansen stole. Although most of his performance was spent narrating over the back-story to the novel, his voice kept your interest to the most part and his performance while on screen was very good – he looked broken, lost, unable to do anything to change it – and that’s exactly what was needed of him.
This is a very classy film by Klugman and Sternthal – with some very nice shots and good visual effects when needed. Credit also must go to whoever wrote the score as it is very good, one of the best and most appropriate scores I’ve heard.
All in all, this is a classy film that tries to be a piece of art more than a form of entertainment, and would probably feel more at home in the pages of a book than the TV’s of our homes.
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