We’re all works in progress. What progress?
This film is an adaptation from the playwright called Another Bullshit Night In Suck City, a memoir written by Nick Flynn. As the producer and the director of this film, Paul Weitz is also in charge to write the screenplay of this story.
The story begins with a narration from Nick Flynn (Paul Dano) and his father Jonathan Flynn (Robert DeNiro). The film largely focuses on Nick’s estranged father, a con man and self-proclaimed poet, a typically delusional as his failed-writer circumstances lead him to unprecedented life and rather shabby. Soon enough, after getting a barrage of punches in life, he finds local shelter where Nick just happens to work. However, the irrepressible grandeur of Jonathan’s pathetically deluded ego adds a sting to his systematic downfall.
We can’t blame much of the film’s flaws on the source material, but writer-director Paul Weitz makes a bland mockery of just about every tool at his disposal, a habitually de-glammed actress typecast as a recovering cokehead, encounters with a mother (Julianne Moore) who’s indistinguishable from every other self-destructive single lady, a moment with Jonathan standing naked in the tub while spouting crotchety slurs about the neighbors, and the kind of rote paternal struggles.
As a playwright i’m sure that this would be a great piece of writing. But as a whole film, I’ll say mediocre. Truthfully it was pain in the ass. The acting performance is great, but not at best. I believe Dano and DeNiro can unleash their true potential if properly directed. Sometimes their steal our attention, sometimes their not. The drawback in this film are, perfunctory score, cluttered storyline, emotional development that seems wobbly. The bonds between characters that should be interwoven, but it soon falls apart. At first the film shows promise, but somehow, it start to dissipates into the thin air gradually. It seems to me that the director want to grow the seeds he plant, but apparently he hesitate and forgot to nurse it as he needs to be, and then finally the plants won’t grow as it supposed to be, unfortunately the plants turns into a silk plants. Suffice to say it’s a soulless film in a heartfelt story.