For Reel

Love & Mercy (2014)
June 19, 2015, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Reviews | Tags: , ,

Director: Bill Pohlad
4.5 Stars
Love & MercyEschewing the conventional rise-and-fall structure of a typical music biopic, Love & Mercy leaps between two significant periods in a man’s life in an attempt to give a full portrait of the artist. Said man is Brian Wilson, the prodigy responsible for the Beach Boys’ most well-regarded album, Pet Sounds. Casting two actors (Paul Dano and John Cusack) risks playing like a gimmick, but what works so terrifically about the picture is that it doesn’t feel disjointed, rather like each half informs the other. There is no “fall” in a traditional sense–that is, Wilson is always tortured to varying degrees. Reconciliation isn’t so much the goal as is getting through the moment. The studio scenes are a particular highlight, with director Bill Pohlad navigating the space in a way that is reminiscent of Jean-Luc Godard’s Sympathy for the Devil. Wilson’s genius is revealed as he oversees the tedious process of directing each and every instrument, and there is a remarkable 360 degree tracking shot that shows both his artistic deliberations and the monotony and patience that such projects take.

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