Sunday, April 19, 2009

Is Anybody There?

I took markws' criticism to heart and went to see Is Anybody There?, a British import starring Michael Caine as an irascible former magician who befriends Edward (Bill Milner), an 11 year-old obsessed with death.

The performances are wonderful. Caine's tilting at windmills as he rails against his decline and the inevitable regrets is palpable. Milner (Son of Rambow) is once again engaging and endearing as a boy who is both fascinated and repulsed by the elderly residents he shares his home with.

I need to give a shout out to David Morrissey who played Edward's mildlife crisis struggling Dad and Anne-Marie Duff who played Edward's stoically patient Mum. Set in a privately run old folks home, of course the cast would be filled with eccentric and offbeat characters. It's a pretty realistic depiction of the indignities of aging.

Milner manages to hold his own with maestro Caine, but the story isn't anything we haven't seen before in films from Harold and Maude to last years Benjamin Button. There is no new ground covered here, no revelations about the mysteries of life or the misery of death. (Or vice versa in some cases...) Inexplicably the story is set in 1987, but aside from a few choice music selections (Come on, Eileen, etc.) the look and feel of the film suggest a much earlier time period.

If you're a big Michael Caine fan, it might be worth the price of a matinee. In any case I'm going to try to catch Duplicity next weekend. It's an American film but at least it stars one of my favorite British imports--Clive Owen.


  1. I wasn't crazy about Duplicity but it did make me a Clive Owen fan. That man has definitely not capitalized on his looks. He is dreamy! :)

  2. I'll have to try the film. Who knows? I might be a fan of Clive Owen, too?

  3. I not only love Clive, but I adore Tom Wilkinson and I was a big fan of Tony Gilroy's directing debut, Michael Clayton. So I expect to love this movie as well.