Saturday, July 7, 2007

Metropolitan (1990, Whit Stillman)

"A smart middle class man accidentally becomes accepted into a group of upper class friends who meet every night to talk about society,politics, and play bridge"

This is a film that some people will stare at for an hour and half and then declare it boring. Meanwhile, other people will be laughing every couple of minutes and enjoy the film. The comedy is dark and extremely subtle, along with everything else. I am happy to belong to the later group.

The only film that I can compare Metropolitan to is American Psycho. I guess the comparison is inevitable because both films deal with yuppies and the yuppie culture, but I don't think the comparison is that simple. Both films find comedy in subjects and people that we shouldn't be laughing at. They are not really saying anything funny or doing funny things. Instead we find comedy in the stupidity of the dialogue and the stupidity of the characters themselves. Maybe its because we are only voyeurs in their world but everything the characters say and do comes out hilarious and mostly preposterous. I love this type of dark and somewhat cynical comedy.

Metropolitan also deserves to get a mention for actually being made in the era when the yuppie culture was dying. One of the scenes in the film where two of the characters meet up with an older yuppie in a bar seems to perfectly sum up the film and the culture itself. It's a great scene and a great touch to the overall theme of the film. It's definatly the key scene to the movie for me.

Metropolitan isn't also just a dark comedy, it's also a love story. We also not only get to see the awkwardness of the middle class guy interacting in this upper class world, we also get one of the upper class girls falling in love with him. A lot of the scenes with these two characters talking is also some top notch comedy writing. The academy really hit a home run with nominating the screenplay for this one.

The only thing I didn't like about Metropolitan was the low budget. That's right, the low budget. I am picking this over the acting, which is really the main problem I had with the film. I think that maybe because of the low budget it was a lot harder finding some great talent and it shows. A lot of the time I felt that the actors were just reading off a script and just came off as wooden. Of course one could argue that it all just fits in with the film but I don't believe this is the case here. I really just think its some wooden acting. That simple.

Metropolitan is a great film to those who are able to "see" the great film. To others it will just be a bunch of nonsense and boring dialogue. Watch it if your in the mood for a different kind of comedy film and you will not be disappointed.

- ***1/2

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