TAR, a film by 12 DIRECTORS

 |   |  1 min read

TAR, a film by 12 DIRECTORS

A visual ode to memory, love, loss of innocence and the spectre of impending death because of the events at Three Mile Island, this film is an elusive construction drawing on the poems of the award-winning American writer CK Williams.

Written and directed by 12 New York University film students, it singles out a few key poems and periods in the poet's life -- non-chronological and with different actors as Williams, chief among them James Franco -- which are portrayed in bleached-out and sometimes honey-glowing exteriors, close-ups and jump-cuts, and strangey allusive imagery.

We see Williams as variously a reclusive child in fear of a dominating father but loved by a doting and exceptionally beautiful mother (Jessica Chastain), a young man in love, taking acid, trying to find his way in a rural idyll and watching as hell unfolds on television in images of Three Mile Island.  

Pivotal to its construction is Williams' relationship with his wife Catherine (Mila Kunis in excellent, natural and vibrant form) and the creeping illness of his close friend (Zach Braff).

Franco has been down the poet route before (Howl about Allen Ginsberg) but this one is a much more slippery portrayal which is sometimes enormously engaging and at other times feels like we are being shown images which don't espcially add up to much.

Few would deny the influence of Terrence Malick in it's visual poetry and languidly constructed story-telling, but while the whole does add up to the sum of the parts, some of those parts are lesser vehicles for the revolving cast who play Williams. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Film articles index

MARLEY, a doco by KEVIN MacDONALD: Mystic vibration still blowing

MARLEY, a doco by KEVIN MacDONALD: Mystic vibration still blowing

For many years – over a decade in fact – Bob Marley's Legend compilation was a massive seller in New Zealand, and many of those copies were on cassette. Lord knows how many copies... > Read more

THE WRECKING CREW, a doco by DENNY TEDESCO

THE WRECKING CREW, a doco by DENNY TEDESCO

While no one would doubt the genius of Brian Wilson, he – like Duke Ellington and classical composers – needed others to realise his music. Initially (and remarkably briefly when... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE AMBER RILEY-THOMPSON SAGA, PART THE TWO (2004): More miss adventures

THE AMBER RILEY-THOMPSON SAGA, PART THE TWO (2004): More miss adventures

A little background to these stories which appeared in the New Zealand Herald . . .  Late in 2003 Russell Baillie, the Herald’s entertainment editor, and I were talking about having... > Read more

Paul Revere and the Raiders: Greatest Hits (1967)

Paul Revere and the Raiders: Greatest Hits (1967)

Yes, a greatest hits collection does look a bit like cheating for an Essential Elsewhere album. But wait, there’s a good reason. Back in the mid-Sixties after the Beatles breakthrough... > Read more