HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
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
Man They Could Not Hang, The
Final Days
Frightened City, The
Assimilate
Sequin in a Blue Room
Common Crime, A
Into the Labyrinth
Power, The
Wake of Death
Night Orchid
Mortal
Iron Mask, The
Dinosaur
Personal History of David Copperfield, The
Dove, The
Collective
Charulata
Minari
Violation
Defending Your Life
Champagne Murders, The
He Dreams of Giants
Lost in America
Take Back
Honeydew
Banishing, The
Drifters, The
Gushing Prayer
   
 
Newest Articles
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
Toons for the Heads: Fantastic Planet and Adult Animation
Nature Girl: The New World on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Perfect Friday and Robbery
   
 
  Bloom Solid take on mediocre novel.
Year: 2003
Director: Sean Walsh
Stars: Stephen Rea, Angeline Ball, Hugh O’Conor, Neilí Conroy, Eoin McCarthy, Alvaro Lucchesi, Maria Hayden, Mark Huberman, Dan Colley, Paul Ronan, Sarah Jane Drummey, Dearbhla Molloy, Patrick Bergin
Genre: Drama, HistoricalBuy from Amazon
Rating:  6 (from 1 vote)
Review: Bloom is an Irish film of the James Joyce novel Ulysses by director Sean Walsh. Let me be up front- I think Ulysses is a vastly overrated book, with moments of superbness and many more moments of wretchedness. It was Joyce, Woolf, and their ilk that started a good deal of art down the road to narcissistic hermeticism. That all said, while the film Bloom is not a great film, in and of itself, it is a good film, with moments of brilliance, and does a far better job at explicating the events of the first Bloomsday, June 16th, 1904, than the book ever has, despite what pretentious critics say.

Basically, nothing much happens on that day, yet three main characters- a married couple, Leopold (Stephen Rea) and Molly Bloom (Angeline Ball), and an aspiring artist and scholar named Stephen Dedalus (Hugh O’Conor)- protagonist of Joyce’s earlier A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man. The three perambulate about the world of Dublin on that day, meeting and missing each other on several occasions. Dedalus is trammeled by his own inadequacies, and rebelling against the established order, while the Blooms deal with the slow death of their marriage, precipitated by the untimely death of their son, and aided by Molly’s flagrant infidelities. Yet, the book takes these circumstances and subordinates them to the intellect, in the conceit of ‘stream of consciousness’ writing, which is basically unpunctuated interior dialogue. Of course, the thing about stream of consciousness is that it is really the conceit, not the real way people think, lest punctuation would never have gotten started. Think of how often your thoughts veer and back up, U-turn and screech to a halt. The mind is certainly not like a river, but more like a potholed city street.

The film, however, does not suffer from these limitations. The visual image can work on multiple levels with far more immediacy than the word, so the ‘day’ of the book can be easily condensed. Some Joyceans will complain that the film takes things out of order, and mixes many of the chapters together, yet a) this is a film, not a book, and b) that is akin to deriding those who deride Joyce’s approach in the book (regardless of whether or not he succeeds- I vote nay), as well as being the height of hypocrisy. There are marvelous images, and truly the cinematography is the best thing in the film. Rea is also great as Leopold Bloom, while ball and O’Conor also have moments of brilliance- including Molly Bloom’s closing soliloquy- the last chapter in the book- which the filmmaker wisely opens and closes the film with, so that Molly is indelibly stamped in the viewer’s mind while most of the rest of the film explores Leopold and Dedalus.

Yet, the best thing that the film does, which the book doesn’t, is that it focuses on the best parts of the book, trimming mounds of self-indulgent ‘fat’, and assisting the few lesser sections it deals with by having lush photography hold the viewer. Yet, the truth is that, despite the occasional brilliant writing and philosophy, the ‘story’ of Ulysses is simply not that compelling. Joyce loves to take the mundane and toss it up into the curvous realm of the stars but, in truth, shitting on a toilet or dealing with an addle-minded Anti-Semite are just not that interesting. And Joyce’s ‘humor’ is about as overrated as Shakespeare’s- it is limited in its appeal by its provinciality and hermeticism.

However, the film, apart from the book, succeeds, and could have been a great film were it to take a bit more leeway, and cut down on Joyce’s surrealism, which, while ahead of its time eight decades ago, is something which dates it now. There had to be other ways to convey the mish-mash that becomes Leopold Bloom’s mind that night than simply making it all farce, for farce, of course, depends totally on context, and once the context is gone, the farce loses force, and hangs limply as an outmoded document of a limited imagination. Director Walsh says, in the DVD commentary, and the features, that he wanted to make Ulysses accessible to people, especially those who own a copy of the book but have not read it. Of course, there are good reasons that the book remains mostly unread, and I’ve outlined some of them above.

Yet, despite decades of handwringing that the novel could never be made into an adequate film, mostly by highbrow literary snobs whose understanding of the book vacillates as much as the layety’s, the truth is that the film does a far better job of distilling the book’s essence for the masses. Almost all of the flaws in the film are carryover flaws from the novel. Film, in fact, would seem to be a medium that Joyce was born to indulge in. Had he been born thirty or so years later I think he may have become the first great screenwriter, and may never have dabbled in novels. Film is far closer to poetry than prose, and Joyce’s prose certainly is among the closest published skirts near poetry. Instead of ‘not doing justice’ to the book the film really makes the book far more relevant to readers- hardcore or casual. Its only flaws, outside of the book’s, is that it could have been a bit more daring. I mean, if Ulysses is rent of nudity, just how avant garde can it be?

Overall, I recommend this film on its own right, and as sort of a Cliff’s Notes to the book, especially considering the excellent director’s commentary. But, it’s a so-so book to begin with, so take the former notation in that light. Yes?
Reviewer: Dan Schneider

 

This review has been viewed 3174 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
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
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
Stately Wayne Manor
   

 

Last Updated: