Brief Interviews with Hideous Men (2009)

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Brief Interviews with Hideous Men: Directed by John Krasinski. With Julianne Nicholson, Ben Shenkman, Timothy Hutton, Michael Cerveris. A graduate student (Nicholson) copes with a recent breakup by conducting interviews with various men.

“Although youu0026#39;re unlikely to see it if you live the UK, with only a fourth quarter 09 release for u0026#39;Brief Interviewsu0026#39; in the States, and curiously Greece, at the Athens Film Festival, John Krasinskiu0026#39;s adaptation of American maverick David Foster Wallaceu0026#39;s book of the same name is something that you really shouldnu0026#39;t allow to go under your radar.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThis shortish film (eighty or so minutes, dependent upon the version you see) has many head-spinning nuances that warrant your attention. Personally, this was a surprising turn for Krasinski, who displays a brilliant eye for a project and impresses upon his audience an ability far outweighing his popular persona of goof or funny man. It is delightful to see a harder, more serious edge to him. I was both shocked and delighted by this film and have happily become a convert of Krasinskiu0026#39;s work, but on a whole new level.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eHaving not read the Wallace book and knowing little about the film prior to watching it, I feel I have benefited from not having any pre-conceptions about the story or how Krasinski decided it should be filmed.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eI am grateful for the fact that I went about my usual business and avoided the reviews that had gone before me, as most reviewers have found that they either love or loathe it. Regardless, the film cannot be ignored once seen, and opinions abound about its relevance. Such is the subject matter and wealth of passionate feelings it both incites from its audience and the messages it dares to tell us about ourselves.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe u0026#39;Hideous Menu0026#39; of the title are few and far between, however, and this may be different in the book, but the majority of a clearly hand-picked multitude of talented actors come across as having opinions on women that are heard all too infrequently. You get the impression that these voices would have remained unheard had a tape recorder and a camera not been placed in front of them and the right type of questions posed from an apparently unassuming and coercive questioner.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe acting talent throughout is exemplary, with one notable exception. Our lead Julianne Nicholson came across as slightly average through an uninventive, passionless and oblique performance as Sara Quinn. This is quite possibly due to her fellow performers and who can be surprised. These hideous men we come across all deliver outstanding monologues with Krasinski, Dominic Miller, Michael Cerveris and Frankie Faison being particular examples of unmissable, gripping talent.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eThe story is simple enough, Quinn is interviewing men on the back of a project to understand the progress of feminism and decides that the best way to understand at least half of that would be to interview men on their feelings about women, taking a broad cross-section of subjects to get as broad a result as possible.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWhat we get is a warts and all (and I do mean all) story about how some of these men view women in general. How some are unmoved in their philosophy and how others, at the more cognitive end of the masculine spectrum have started to realise that maybe this isnu0026#39;t their world after all. While some are bitter or delighted, most are confused by their relationships with the women in their lives, but all of them are nonetheless vocal about their feelings, even if those feelings are not what Quinn would really like to hear.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eWith an impressive cast, who appear to be mostly right on form, a screenplay adapted by Krasinski that is at times witty, funny and above all brilliantly observed by Wallace and some impressive editing by Zene Baker and Rich Fox, Brief interviews With Hideous Men is both a lesson of our times for men and women everywhere with meaning in every line. This makes romantic comedies seem dire by comparison and I would suggest that even though this is most definitely a look at relationships as much as anything else, it would be wise to avoid it when picking a DVD for a second date, as this raises some uncomfortable questions that are thankfully not glossed over with comedy.u003cbr/u003eu003cbr/u003eA real treat for fans of rational thought and superlative acting skills.”


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