In a column for the Guardian over the weekend, Joe Queenan used A Serious Man to stand in example of movies by directors which stand apart from the rest of their filmography. In the case of A Serious Man, Queenan writes:
A Serious Man falls into that category of films that, for whatever reason, do not have the same texture or mood as a director’s other films. It may be a decision the film-maker has made deliberately, or it may be entirely inadvertent, but these films stand apart from the other movies in a director’s body of work. It is as if the film-maker abruptly decided to take a holiday from his own personality and make a film in somebody else’s style.
He goes on to cite other examples of this theory for great directors. He notes Werner Herzog for Rescue Dawn (“…a well-crafted action picture. And nothing more.“), Spike Lee’s Inside Man (“…certainly doesn’t have the feel of any other Spike Lee film. It is work for hire.“) and Ang Lee with The Hulk (“…one of those catastrophes so bad that its sequel seems like the industry’s personal apology to the movie-going public for what has gone before.“)
He also cites a few examples of better one-offs, such as Scorsese’s Age of Innocence, Eastwood’s The Bridges of Madison County and, inexplicably, Peter Weir’s Green Card.
I’ll leave what he considers good or bad to the side (seriously though, Green Card?) and just comment on the mistake of characterising so many of these films as being far apart from the other work by directors.
The trailer for My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done?, the new movie from Werner Herzog and produced by David Lynch, has turned up. It’s not quite as insane as the trailer for his take on Bad Lieutenant, but the voiceover does seem to slightly mistake the kind of film Herzog tends to make. It does however, akin to Rescue Dawn, indicate this desire in modern Herzog movies to make films which seem to conform to the look and feel of mainstream Hollywood movies and yet entirely work within his own sphere of interest.
Check it out below.
Abel Ferrara, possibly still stinging from Werner Herzog putting him down after taking on Bad Lieutenant, has decided to launch his own version of Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Ferrara’s version will be called Jekyll and Hyde.
His reading will also feature Forest Whitaker and Curtis ’50 Cent’ Jackson at the lead characters.
I can’t quite imagine why he would want to do this but, given his interesting if not wholly-successful take on the Invasion of the Body Snatchers story in the past, he could at least bring something different to the table.
Separate to this, two other Jekyll and Hyde projects are in the works.
There is the terrible-sounding version with Keanu Reeves playing both lead roles, although possibly with Bronson’s Nicolas Winding Refn directing. That one would presently fall into the interesting category alongside the potential Ferrara version.
Alongside those is the most promising but, unfortunately, most unlikely to come in the short-term, from Guillermo del Toro. That one is only in the embryonic stages so little is known other than the character design will be amazing.