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Movie Adaptation Grapples With Big Book, Comes Up Short

It’s arduous to think about that there may very well be a better-looking film at this 12 months’s Toronto International Film Festival than John Crowley’s adaptation of Donna Tartt’s bestselling novel “The Goldfinch.” And that makes the various areas during which the movie falls quick all of the extra irritating.

A high-toned adaptation of the novel from Crowley, the Irish director answerable for the Oscar Best Picture nominee “Brooklyn,” “The Goldfinch” is much less simple than the novel, leaping forwards and backwards in time, nevertheless it additionally feels much more typical. Where Crowley’s earlier movie was an understated gem that captured the light poetry of Colm Toibin’s novel, his new one is greater, bolder and extra earthbound.

The bigness and boldness are of necessity. “The Goldfinch,” which had its world premiere this week on the Toronto International Film Festival, is a coming-of-age story of a younger boy whose mom is killed in a terrorist explosion within the Metropolitan Museum of Art, nevertheless it’s additionally a love story and an examination of a guilt and a heist and a testomony to the facility of artwork.

You can cowl that in 784 pages, perhaps, nevertheless it’s quite a bit to deal with even within the movie’s 2 hour and 29 minute working time, which begins to really feel exhausting nicely earlier than it ends.

When we first meet our protagonist, Theo Decker, he’s performed by Ansel Elgort as a easy operator who appears immaculate in his bespoke fits however is clearly carrying a complete lot of bother on the within.

Theo is at a degree of despair – and as he meticulously prepares to take his personal life, the movie jumps again to the start of the novel to point out him as a younger teen (performed by Oakes Fegley). The demise of Theo’s mom pushes him deep into his shell, till a hoop given to him by a person who died within the explosion leads him to an vintage retailer the place he meets “Hobie” Hobart (Jeffrey Wright) and, crucially, a younger lady who additionally survived the explosion.

We begin to watch the 2 wounded youngsters bond, after which we’re out of the blue again to the grown Theo once more – and at this level, the time jumps appear designed extra to get Elgort onscreen once more than to serve any actual dramatic level, as a result of we’re quickly again with Fegley for an extended stretch.

Theo is an intriguing character, a person crippled by guilt and by secrets and techniques he can’t reveal. And the soundtrack is nearly as intriguing because the character, mixing the gradual motion of Beethoven’s fifth piano concerto with New Order’s “Your Silent Face,” Bill Evans’ “Blue Monk,” Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place” and Them’s model of “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue.”

Best of all is the exceptional cinematography by a real grasp, Roger Deakins. From the nice and cozy and lustrous look of a high-end vintage retailer to the superbly luminous sheen in a swanky residence to the stark, arduous glare of a abandoned housing improvement outdoors Vegas, Deakins makes the film look so good you’ll be able to typically ignore its shortcomings.

But solely typically. The movie grows extra florid and dramatic because it unfolds, and extra disjointed; even with dependable actors like Elgort, Wright, Nicole Kidman, Sarah Paulson, and Luke Wilson available, the storytelling feels clunky in a method “Brooklyn” by no means did.

For Theo, the Carel Fabritius portray that provides the movie its identify represents the permanence of artwork, the potential for magnificence surviving in an unsightly world and, in a method, the potential for some form of redemption within the aftermath of horrible tragedy. But not all artwork survives in the identical method. “The Goldfinch,” the novel, was a testomony to the facility of “The Goldfinch,” the portray – however “The Goldfinch,” the film,…

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