I read an earlybird “review” two or three months ago that said Ridley Scott‘s A Good Year (20th Century Fox, 11.10) was a little too mild and unassertive for its own good. The writer was somewhat persuasive because ever since I’ve been referring to this film in my column jottings as “Ridley Lite.”
Well, back up on that. A Good Year, which had its first press screening this morning at 9 ayem, is a lightweight film, all right, and, okay, more than a little formulaic from the get-go…but it goes down so easily and smartly, and after the first 35 or 40 minutes or so the mood of it begins to sink in like expensive French skin cream, and the result is a kind of airy, nectary enchantment that is relatively rare in mainstream cinema these days.
And I swear on my kids that Russell Crowe, the fuming, flying-phone-man of legend, is 50% of the cause of all this sweet, mellow charm. The other 50% contributor is Scott, of course. And let’s give some credit, also, to the late Harry Nilsson, whose songs turn up on the soundtrack three times. (“Gotta Get Up”, one my favorites, is one of them.)
And let’s offer a toast, also, to the cinematography, the French sun, the vineyards, the aroma, the taste of it, the beautiful women…the whole succulent package. This, to me, is first-class escapism.
The Good Year press conference is about to begin (I’m typing this from the press room at teh Sutton Place hotel) so I’ll continue this piece later on this afternoon ….probably.