Movie: Flashbacks of a fool
Cast: Daniel Craig (of James Bond and Layer Cake fame), Mark Strong (of Sunshine, Rocknrolla fame), Claire Forlani (of Meet Joe Black and Rock fame) etc.
Release date: October 2008 (USA)
Running time: 110 minutes (R)
I saw "Flashbacks of a fool" only because of Daniel Craig’s performances in the most recent two James Bond movies and Layer Cake (A must watch if you haven’t already). I expected it to be a drama but didn’t know that DC puts in a great performance, not to mention a superlative supporting cast.
The story is about a coke addicted-womanizing-luster-less Hollywood star Joe Young(Daniel Craig) who has squandered a large part of his career away to the point where he is having a difficult time getting roles in movies. At this juncture, he gets a call from his mother whom he hasn’t visited for a while as she lets him know that his best friend, Boots McKay, from his childhood days had passed away. He eventually goes into depression because of the way his life has turned out and attempts suicide by trying to drown him in the sea under the effect of alcohol. He fails to kill himself but during the supposedly few hours that he spends listless, afloat in the sea, he has a flashback.
The flashback story makes the large part of the movie. His life as a teenager, his flirting with Ruth (Felicity Jones / Claire Forlani), his memorable dance with her to the music of If there is something by David Bowie, his relationship with his best friend Boots McKay, who eventually marries Ruth later in life, his overly risqué escapades (which are quite graphic in the movie) with his one of his mothers friend, Evelyn, which eventually results in an accident that kills Evelyn’s daughter in a freak Naval (water) mine accident. This final experience (in his flashback) is so unbearable to him that he runs away from home.
When he does return home to England to visit Boots’s grave, he bumps into Ruth who completely cold shoulders him. It is important to note that although she has lost her husband quite recently, she hasn’t shed too many tears. After paying his respects to his late friend, before Joe departs again for the USA, he hands Ruth a simple sheet of paper with the lyrics to the song they danced to a good 25 years ago. Ruth had not really cried at the death of her husband, the man who she loved all her life, but she breaks inconsolably into tears down when reminded of a dance she had with Joe, 25 years ago. This is where the movie ends leaving the future for the viewer to divine.
Although not Oscar worthy, this is a highly underrated movie – probably in the top 5 most underrated movies of all time! If you are old enough to have gone through at least 20-25 years of life with its challenges, friendships and moments that you cannot go back to, this movie would make a lot of sense. It is a very powerful movie that will haunt you for some time!
Keep an eye out for: Daniel Craig’s excellent performance as Joe Young, Felicity Jones as the young Ruth, and Claire Forlani’s poignant yet crucial 10 minutes towards the end of the movie. The soundtrack is phenomenal and adds to the entire dark mood of the movie. Particularly evocative is David Bowies – If there is something.