"Is it just me, or is there no one young or old named Adam in this movie?"
After much bellyaching over the hypocrisy of the MPAA's policy on male nudity and its NC-17 rating, Ewan McGregor finally managed to keep his wang in Young Adam. Too bad he couldn't get some semblance of a point in there too.Based on the novel by Alexander Trocchi, McGregor plays Joe, a failed writer turned aimless drifter in dirty, dreary 1950s Scotland who finds himself in a similar fix to Montomery Clift in A Place in the Sun when his inconveniently pregnant girlfriend very conveniently drowns.
But wheras the "accidental" demise of Clift's pregnant burden leads him into the arms of a rich, nubile young Elizabeth Taylor, McGregor has to settle for pasty, hairy-arm pitted Tilda Swinton and her rusty barge. He also gets stuck with her son and husband (The Magdelene Sisters director Peter Mullan) as the trio troll the rivers between Glasgow and Edinburgh.
McGregor humpfest is disrupted when he finds his former flame's body as it washes ashore and must deal with the subsequent burden of guilt when an innocent man is accused of her murder.
Not that either seems to bother McGregor all that much, especially since he's too busy having a go at Swinton, her sister and pretty much the entirety to Scotland's unwashed msses.
McGregor is getting so much pasty puntang Young Adam almost feels like a Scottish Red Shoes Diaries, except instead of 30 minutes of soft core it's 90 minutes of mercifully dull unattractive people having grimy, deglamorized sex.
Visually the Scottish squalor is competently recreated by writer/director David McKenzie and the performances are adequate if not a bit too low key, but what does it all mean?
That all men are remorseless beasts driven by their libido? That all women are incapable of fidelity? That Scottish people are can't keep their pants on?
It's so unpleasant and mercilessly grim that it almost feels like an anti-movie, stripping away the glossy artifice of cinematic storytelling.There's no likable characters, no narrative drive and no resolution.
And, with the exception of drawing McGregor one penis closer to Harvey Keitel and Bruce Willis in the manhood-bearing standings, no real point.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2004 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival. For more in the 2003 Edinburgh Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival. For more in the 2004 Philadelphia Film Festival series, click here.