Friday, 5 April 2013

Chaplin (1992)

Not a huge success upon release and I'm not really sure why as this lavish epic is thoroughly interesting, charming and well made.

Taken a from a point of narration by Chaplin during an interview with a fictional character played by Hopkins the film simply takes you through Chaplin's life from one event to another although with many gaps. I'm not completely up with the life of Charlie but I have read that the film does take artistic license with the truth and of course skips a lot of history. This really can't be faulted as my personal view from someone who knows very little about his life is 'does that matter?'

The film shows much of his upbringing from the dirty streets of Victorian London to his first jobs in the US. His breaking through into the business, becoming rich and world famous and his problems upon returning to the UK after the the first World War. Most of his big films are also covered in the bio and show just how much swing he had during his reign. The issue he had with controversial ideas and how his close friendships with top stars of the time like Doug Fairbanks helped him.

The film looks excellent in every sense and every scene but clearly the main attraction is Downey Jr and his portrayal of Chaplin. Not only does he genuinely look like Charlie but he manages to mimic the moves, walk, facial expressions and even the comedic slapstick Charlie amazed us with in his movies. To watch Downey making the classic films within the main film you would actually think Chaplin was still alive today starring in his own bio, amazing work to get it right.

Other cast members all add to the superb film both in their looks and portrayals. An amazing line up of known stars from both the US and the UK ranging from Dan Aykroyd to Diane Lane to John Thaw and Milla Jovovich. Kevin Kline is probably one of the better casting choices as he really does seem to belong in that kind of era, born at the wrong time methinks hehe and his lovely showcase as Fairbanks shows this.

As with any film of this nature some sequences are maybe over the top and heavy handed to create that teary eyed emotion but I guess that is to be expected and required to a degree. Never the less a worthy film from Attenborough that has been forgotten yet easily sits in the top twenty of all time bio pics.