For Reel


Modern Romance (1981)
September 12, 2012, 4:07 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Albert Brooks

Unlike Woody Allen, there is little that is charming about Albert Brooks’ on-screen persona. Like his East Coast counterpart, he is neurotic, self-obsessed, and delusional, however whereas Allen was identifiable through his humorous observations (he made you believe that everyone else was crazy and he was the sane one) and a knowing awareness of his faults, Brooks’ characters seem oblivious to the fact that they’re walking disasters. In Modern Romance, his second outing as a director, Brooks tests the limits of his audience’s patience as he chronicles the journey of a man who never realizes his faults, rather the contradiction of his neediness and his unwillingness to commit is always in play. Yet, the spectacle of his self-destruction is something to behold – early in the picture, Brooks stumbles through his apartment drunk and on Quaaludes in an extended take, indecisive as to what his next move will be and making conversation with a cockatiel and various inanimate objects. Without frequent cutting and restricting the space by having the camera strictly following Brooks, one can’t help but feel claustrophobic – not trapped so much by space as by a man and his embarrassing downfall.

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