'Malcolm & Marie' is a showcase for its stars, e un mal di testa per i suoi spettatori

Lo sceneggiatore e regista Sam Levinson trascorre molto tempo in “Malcolm & Marie” lamentarsi dei critici, che si sente come un pugile che guida con il mento. Associazione di Zendaya e John David Washington, il film — quickly and stealthily shot during the pandemicwins points for ingenuity, then loses them with its shrill tone and the uneven hairpin turns of its writing.

The two-person showcase casts Washington (the Malcolm half of the title) as a director, returning home from a premiere of his debut movie with his glamorous girlfriend, Zendaya’s Marie. While he alternately exults and rails againstthe white girlfilm critic at the L.A. Times, she’s sullen and angry, for reasons that will gradually (very gradually) be explained.
Levinson and Zendaya were already collaborating on the HBO series “Euforia” when Covid-19 hit, and the idea of secretly shooting a movie in a remote house arose, come Scadenza segnalato. Filmed in striking black and white, the mostly-housebound structure has the unavoidable texture of a stage play, even if the characters occasionally venture outside onto the rustic grounds.
Malcolm spends a lot of time talking about the nature of art and referencing great directors of the past, lamenting the impulse to squeeze movies into identifiable boxes. Yet the filmmaker and movie that most comes to mind goes unmentioned: Woody Allen’sStardust Memories,” another black-and-white portrait of an angst-ridden auteur, and an earlier exercise in this sort of self-indulgence.
    The characters fight bitterlyunleashing long monologues, the most impressively breathless being Malcolm’s rant about an early reviewmake up almost out of sheer exhaustion, then abruptly argue some more. Allo stesso modo, Marie can go from praising Malcolm’s work to ripping it apart at a moment’s notice.
    It’s all very showy, beautifully shot, and ultimately irritating and headache inducing, largely because the script makes even the emotions and grievances that get vented unconvincing despite the strong performances, pouring out as they do in intermittent bursts.
    “Malcolm & Marie” can be charitably viewed as an experimentduring a period that has invited a lot of trial and error that’s more admirable for its ambition, production-wise, than its execution. Afforded the chance to make something potentially daring with Zendaya (fresh off her Emmy win) and the star of Tenet e BlacKkKlansman,” why not try?
    Couched that way “Malcolm & Marie” is arguably worth watching — almeno, a few minutes worth of itwithout really needing to see it cross the finish line.
    Nothing productive is going to be said tonight,” Marie says quietly when Malcolm starts to probe what’s bugging her after they get home.
      Ahimè, when the shouting’s over, those turn out to be the truest words spoken.
      “Malcolm & Marie” premieres Feb. 5 su Netflix. It’s rated R.

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