Review: St. Vincent + video review!

St. Vincent + video review!
8 10
Check out Chris' Video Review below!

ST VINCENT was previously reviewed as part of our TIFF14 coverage.
PLOT: A precocious young boy falls under the influence of his ornery neighbor, an alcoholic, over-the-hill gambler named Vincent (Bill Murray).

REVIEW: ST. VINCENT is a movie that couldn't have been made with anyone but Bill Murray. Notoriously choosey about his projects, it's easy to see what drew Murray to a part that's kinda like the over-the-hill version of the wise-guy parts he played in his heyday. Without him ST. VINCENT couldn't possibly have worked as it depends so completely on Murray's patented talent of making guys that should be exasperating likable.

Bill Murray st vincent

Vincent is Murray going for broke. Played with more edge than he's displayed in a mostly comic role since MAD DOG AND GLORY, Vincent is a loudmouth drunk. The interesting twist is that those deadpan lines that used to charm people when he was a young man often fall flat with his co-stars, with them all seeing through his BS from a mile away. Vincent is the wise-ass who's no longer wise. To see Murray playing a guy that could be called a loser is jarring but it undeniably gives him the freedom to make Vincent more than just a funny old guy.

While the early trailers make this look like a BAD SANTA-style movie about a young boy falling under the wing of a shady role model, ST. VINCENT isn't really a full-on comedy. It's funny but in a real-world kind of way, with this being more akin to something like SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK. At a certain point it even shifts into drama mode, with writer-director Theodore Melfi doing a skillful job navigating the tonal changes, which could have come off as cliché or too aggressive an attempt to tug at the heartstrings, but actually give the film a weight you wouldn't expect from the trailers.

Bill Murray st vincent

Of course, the key to this is Murray, as he plays Vincent in such a naturalistic way that even when things get really emotional or dark, it can't help but feel authentic thanks to his performance. This one is already generating a lot of Best Actor buzz at TIFF, and while it remains to be seen if the Academy will embrace it, ST. VINCENT will no doubt be one of the big crowd-pleasers of the festival, which may give it a real shot towards commercial success and awards momentum for Murray.

He's also get a heck of a supporting cast, with very noteworthy turms by two other mostly comedic performers, Chris O'Dowd and Melissa McCarthy. While O'Dowd's part isn't a huge stretch, there are a few really nice moments where his Catholic-school priest teacher has a few character bits that make him more than just a goof and display some compassion. As for McCarthy, she's really exceptional in a totally straight-dramatic part. This couldn't be further removed from something like TAMMY or BRIDESMAIDS, and it's interesting to see how nuanced and disciplined a performer she can be when given the chance.

It's interesting that the most broadly comic performance in the film comes from Naomi Watts, who – of them all – is the one most associated with drama. Here she plays Murray's favourite prostitute, with her having fun with the character's thick Russian accent, pregnancy (which doesn't stop her from working) and crazy make-up job.

Outside of Murray, the most important part of the film is obviously Jaeden Lieberher as Vincent's young charge. For such a young actor he gives a very naturalistic performance, utterly devoid of any precociousness. If the kid was too sweet, he would have really clashed with Murray's approach, but the two work very well together, and you could understand that over time Vincent would eventually grow fond of him. He's not overly cute or goofy. He just seems like a nice, normal kid, which is exactly what the movie needed.

Future Oscar-nominee or not, ST. VINCENT seems like a good bet to connect with Murray's legion of fans (and really, who isn't a fan?). It's a crowd-pleaser through-and-through, and likely the best use of Murray's talent since BROKEN FLOWERS. Obviously, it's a must see.

Source: JoBlo.com



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