Friday, December 09, 2022

‘The Whale’ review from Venice: Brendan Fraser walks from the depths to the light

    Fourteen years earlier, Darren Aronofsky won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival for ‘The Wrestler’, a film that featured the insidious Vykrusis of the character of Randy “The Ram” Robinson, a longtime wrestling star , who were trying to reconnect with one. Betty left Betty self-destructing on the ring with acrobatic punches and kicks. In addition to the crowning of the American filmmaker, “The Wrestler” marked Mickey Rourke’s abundance (albeit short-lived) return to the top acting division: a resurgence that craved him for a Hollywood Oscar. Now, with “The Whale,” Aronofsky seeks to repeat that successful move with a stellar family drama in which Brendan Fraser, ousted for years, delivers one of the performances that captivated the Yankee Film Academy. However, on this occasion, the protagonist of the film does not reprimand himself by commenting and attacking, but punishes his body by consuming excessive junk food.

    In ‘The Whale’, Fraser plays Charlie, a lone writing teacher who weighs over 250 kilos and whose rampant excesses push him to the brink of death. Charlie visits Liz (Hong Chow) daily, a determined nurse who helps him cope with his precarious physical condition, although his deep sorrow is rooted in a thick tapestry of emotional scars. Sensing a tragic loss and the end of his days, Charlie tries to re-establish a bond with his 17-year-old daughter, Ellie (Sadie Sink, Max Mayfield of ‘Stranger Things’), but loses time. The load comes as a burden is difficult to carry. Based on the play of the same name by Samuel D. Hunter, the plot takes place entirely inside Charlie’s apartment and allows Aronofsky to return to his interest in working with claustrophobic spaces and situations, something that ‘requiems’. It was featured in films like ‘For a Dream’. ’ or “The Mother,” though it must be said that on occasion the New York director distances himself from formal experimentation, adopting a more classical, more conservative staging.



    If, in the beauty section, Aronofsky shows his most contained face in “The Whale,” then in the dramatic aspect the director of “Black Swan” tends to seek extremes. The protagonist’s self-destructive process is presented as a bizarre feast of arrhythmias, drowning, wild bingeing, untimely falls and immobility, although, as mentioned, Charlie’s greatest pain lies in his heart. Despite being a friendly person and displaying an admirable positivism, this fat man seems to be touched by fate, something that Aronofsky emphasized by inviting most of the characters to be treated with contempt; Even those who appreciate him fall into neglect guided by the self-loathing that the protagonist carries behind his back.

    In his relationships with others, Charlie often has the words “sorry” on his lips. Crime and the search for redemption are great themes of Aronofsky’s work and ‘The Whale’ is no exception. The reference to an evil congregation known as the New Life, which promises salvation at the end of the coming days, distances Aronofsky from his general interest in Christian parables. However, when it comes to uncovering the moral and ideological background of his new film Prayer, the director of “Noe” uses the idea of ​​conquering a certain light (or existential elevation) through faith and sacrifice in others. to return to.

    Beyond its noisy theatrical performances, “The Whale” stands out for the work of Brendan Fraser, who manages to, with the depth of a showy prosthetic makeup (in the manner of Gary Oldman in “Darkest Hour”), compose a character. One who navigates between the well of despair, sociability, and an expression of genuine tenderness. Too bad that the complicity potential of his character—a good and loving man who was able to abandon his daughter at the age of eight—is weighed down by a script determined to emphasize his sacred dimension. With a poignant disposition compared to measured observation, ‘The Whale’ moves toward the light, leaving behind a trail of pain and glory.

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