Innocence

"Excellent"

Innocence Review


The most amazing thing about Paul Cox's Innocence is how unlike a movie it is. I mean that as the highest compliment. If most studios were to profile an elderly couple who rekindle a 40-year-old romance, I'd want to run and hide. The sex scenes would be handled as a farce, producers would shed 20 years off the characters' ages (so Susan Sarandon and Harrison Ford could star) and true love would shine through any obstacle without explanation and consequence.

Along with a charming romantic story, the Australian/Belgian Innocence shows how an increasing sense of mortality combined with revisiting the past while being entrenched in the present can make something that seems so right seem downright questionable.

The romance gets started when former musician Andreas (Charles "Bud" Tingwell), learns that his true love, Claire (Julia Blake), lives nearby. They decide to catch up on old times, but soon find themselves in a reinvigorating affair. Complicating matters is Andreas' frail health, and Claire's longtime husband (Terry Norris), who can't understand why he's suddenly become obsolete.

In my mind, the movie is less about the relationship between Andreas and Claire, than the feelings of everyone involved. John, Claire's husband, endlessly questions what he did wrong. Claire initially insists she's a grown-up, but admittedly behaves like a child, a prospect that thrills and disappoints her. Andreas, an agnostic, begins to question his fate, a message Cox delivers in a memorable dream sequence.

Cox litters the movie with flashbacks, including the repeated vision of a roaring train. It's a reminder of Andreas and Claire's past love (as young lovers, they met by train), but as it recurs, we get the feeling that the past and the present have clashed. A pall is cast on the whole affair.

A master of the understated, Cox strings together a series of memorable moments. In Andreas' dream sequence, amidst the roar of the train and conversations, we get the whole picture of Andreas and Claire's love. We also get glimpses into John and Claire's relationship. During a silent candlelit dinner shortly afterward, Claire admits to John about her indiscretion, telling more than any monologue could. All that's heard is the scraping of forks against plates.

The characters are unlike anything I've seen -- they're people. So many times, movies and especially television portray senior citizens as gratingly spunky. Or they're reduced to comedic buffoons. Ordinary people with a pile of emotions, Claire and Andreas aren't sure what the next step is. They do want to be happy, which consists of an entirely different set of conditions than what they've known throughout their adult lives. Bravo to Cox, who wrote the script, for not making John a monster, so that Claire's affair is automatically justified. Norris is so effective as John that he makes Andreas and Claire's love difficult to accept. We feel for him. He's a decent man. Sure, he may have become complacent, but he never expected this, especially now.

With so much presented to the audience, it's only expected that the material gets a little drawn out and repetitive, which it does. However, in bringing up tough questions and not offering easy answers, Cox displays a skill and élan isn't likely to be surpassed by anyone anytime soon.



Facts and Figures

Run time: 110 mins

In Theaters: Friday 24th October 1997

Production compaines: Big Indie Pictures, Scion Films, Killer Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

IMDB: 8.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Beckett Warner, as Pamela Hamilton, as Tobey Crawford, as Miles Warner, Sarah Sutherland as Jen Dunham, as Natalie Crawford, as Ava Dunham, as Moira Neal, Sarita Choudhury as Dr. Vera Kent, Annie Q. as Chloe Murray

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Office Christmas Party Movie Review

Jennifer Aniston and Jason Bateman reunite with The Switch directors Josh Gordon and Will Speck...

Snowden Movie Review

Snowden Movie Review

Here's another remarkable biopic from Oliver Stone, who has used all-star casts and intensely pointed...

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

The Birth of a Nation Movie Review

This true story from 19th century America feels eerily relevant today in its depiction of...

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

The Edge of Seventeen Movie Review

An unusually realistic teen movie, this drama gets deep under the skin of its characters,...

Bleed for This Movie Review

Bleed for This Movie Review

This is such a ripping true story that it can't help but grab hold of...

Moana Movie Review

Moana Movie Review

In a clear echo of Frozen, this Disney animated adventure centres on a fiercely independent...

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

Bad Santa 2 Movie Review

The 2003 comedy Bad Santa is a holiday classic that skilfully mixes gross-out humour with...

Advertisement
Allied Movie Review

Allied Movie Review

There's a terrific script at the heart of this World War II thriller, with a...

A United Kingdom Movie Review

A United Kingdom Movie Review

Based on a powerful true story from the late 1940s, this drama is packed with...

Indignation Movie Review

Indignation Movie Review

Philip Roth's layered novels are a challenge for filmmakers (see also 2003's The Human Stain...

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them Movie Review

It's been five years since the last Harry Potter movie, and J.K. Rowling has been...

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Dog Eat Dog Movie Review

Yet another bonkers thriller starring Nicolas Cage, this trashy crime comedy comes from director Paul...

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall Movie Review

"Iggy Pop - Post Pop Depression: Live At The Royal Albert Hall" is a DVD...

Arrival Movie Review

Arrival Movie Review

This sci-fi drama has an enjoyably brain-bending plot that leaves the audience almost stunned with...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.