Monday, August 23, 2010

#252: Faces

(John Cassavetes, 1968)

The first half of Faces is tough going. The story seems to be swirling around the drain, not really going down, and like all Cassavetes movies, seems more concerned with letting a scene play out naturally with emotional honesty and balls to the wall performances than with advancing any kind of plot. In fact, the plot of Faces could probably be the first (or last) 20 minutes of any other movie. It's extremely dull until about an hour in when things start to get going a little bit more. For sure, the women are much more interesting than the men, and the story of the wife's infidelity is much more interesting than the husband's. And perhaps the husband's reaction to finding out his wife slept with someone else was a little more interesting in 1968, but having seen this play out a thousand times since it doesn't generate the same thought.

Sometimes I think Cassavetes was so good he made himself irrelevant. Faces doesn't need to be seen anymore because its been recreated and mainstreamed thousands of times. Cassavetes wins, but the viewer isn't any more satisfied.

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