HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
Pot Carriers, The
Black Bear
Don't Cry, Pretty Girls!
Portal
Me You Madness
Reckoning, The
Laddie: The Man Behind the Movies
For the Sake of Vicious
Hell Bent
Straight Shooting
Jules Verne's Rocket to the Moon
   
 
Newest Articles
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Seance on a Wet Afternoon and Ring of Spies
Chaney Chillers: Inner Sanctum Mysteries - The Complete Film Series on Blu-ray
Adelphi Extras: Stars in Your Eyes on Blu-ray
   
 
  Behind the Candelabra Pianist Envy
Year: 2013
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon, Dan Aykroyd, Rob Lowe, Scott Bakula, Debbie Reynolds, Jane Morris, Garrett M. Brown, Cheyenne Jackson, Tom Papa, Bruce Ramsay, Nicky Katt, Paul Reiser, Boyd Holbrook, Mike O'Malley, Deborah Lacey, David Koechner, Susan Todd
Genre: BiopicBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 2 votes)
Review: In 1977, Scott Thorson (Matt Damon) was an animal trainer for Hollywood productions having previously been a vetinary assistant, living with his foster parents and visiting gay bars in his spare time. This is where he met Bob Black (Scott Bakula), who invited him over to watch the world famous pianist Liberace (Michael Douglas) play a concert in Las Vegas where Scott was so surprised such an obviously gay show would appeal to such a conservative, straight audience. Bob had the reason: they had no idea he was homosexual, but Scott did, and when they met backstage it was the beginning of something...

Subtext is an interesting thing, and it was all the way through the celebrity musician Liberace just as it was through this biopic of his final years, courtesy of director Steven Soderbergh who had thought Thorson's tale, as delineated in his trashy tell-all book, was fascinating enough to build a movie around. Therefore, for what Soderbergh claimed would be his final film as director, Behind the Candelabra was eventually made for HBO in America thanks to various obstacles the production found in its way: seriously as far as health went, Michael Douglas was hospitalised with cancer treatment, a disease he managed to beat.

And curiously, they couldn't find anyone who wanted to make a gay-themed work. Not for cinemas anyway, though while this aired on television in the States, other countries played it theatrically as intended, and the world did not end as a result. You might have thought a movie with this amount of star power would have sold it to mainstream audiences - in the smaller roles there were fairly big names, even if they did get made up heavily so that in some cases you wouldn't twig that they were in it if you had not read the credits. Add to that this being one of those growing number of biopics and based on real events efforts which began to proliferate.

The idea was that you would get a good idea of what the people involved would actually be like by watching their deeds re-enacted by other famous people, and sometimes they didn't have to be famous to be recreated for the screen, they simply needed a good story to tell. Given the man behind the showman in Liberace's case, this could have gone overboard with the facts and created an embellishment of the sort Tim Burton did for Ed Wood, but where that played fast and loose with the truth to fashion a sense of time, place and character, strangely Soderbergh preferred to make his telling of his subject like a sitcom of the era, with comedy situations made weirdly macabre by a lot of what was happening.

The best example of that would be the plastic surgery, with Rob Lowe on excellent form as the bizarre surgeon who claims to not only make Lee (as his friends called him) look younger, but on his instruction make Scott resemble his Lee. Thorson was forty years younger than Liberace in reality, but here Matt Damon played him with makeup, not quite convincing as a twenty-year-old in spite of that, but giving a performance as a male Farrah Fawcett type allowing you to overlook such decisions. Yet while Scott is the main character as we see this madness through his eyes (it didn't seem to do him much good after he and Liberace broke up), Michael Douglas stole the film from a lot of competition, including Dan Aykroyd as the abrasive manager and Debbie Reynolds as Mrs Liberace - Lee's mother who retains a definite hold over him, just one instance of Soderbergh and Richard LaGravenese's script inviting you to analyse what you were seeing. Douglas was so good you forget you're watching him act, a cliché perhaps, but accurate here; just a pity the film's domesticity lacked Liberace's famed flamboyance.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2632 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

Steven Soderbergh  (1963 - )

Versatile American writer, director and producer whose Sex Lies and Videotape made a big splash at Cannes (and its title has become a cliche). There followed an interesting variety of small films: Kafka, King of the Hill, noir remake The Underneath, Schizopolis (which co-starred his ex-wife) and Gray's Anatomy.

Then came Out of Sight, a smart thriller which was successful enough to propel Soderbergh into the big league with The Limey, Erin Brockovich, Oscar-winning Traffic and classy remake Ocean's 11. When Full Frontal and his Solaris remake flopped, he made a sequel to Ocean's 11 called Ocean's 12, material he returned to with Ocean's 13. Che Guevara biopics, virus thriller Contagion and beat 'em up Haywire were next, with the director claiming he would retire after medication thriller Side Effects and Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra. He returned after a period of even greater activity with heist flick Logan Lucky and his first horror, Unsane.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: