Tuesday, 12 March 2013

REVIEW - THE PATIENCE STONE


Her husband is not her patience stone. We are her patience stone. We must soak it all in, all her self-indulgent monologues and musings, all her thoughts and all her feelings. One power of the written word is that it has the ability to elevate the most hackneyed ideas and spin something artful out of them. But seeing is believing, and too often do such ideas land with a crash, bang, wallop when transferred from page to screen. The cardinal misstep? The verbosity of the screenplay, as if to disregard the ample visual language of cinema, relying solely on over-elaborate dialogue. Golshifteh Farahani is left no space to imply, to communicate with her eyes, her body language - it is all in the words she so eagerly declares. There are times when it seems as though even the most minute thoughts flitting through her mind must be vocalised - and for whom? As far as she is aware, no-one can hear her except us. Director of photography Thierry Arbogast, usually such a creative stylist, helps none, producing a drab visual palette that makes The Patience Stone as dreary a film to watch as to listen to. Farahani is an engaging lead, which is just as well, since she must carry the dead weight of this film until it snaps into life at the very end, briefly, unconvincingly, predictably, but nonetheless thankfully. She ably suggests the suffocating effect that her society and culture have on life for a woman in her unfortunate position, which is detailed in the script, but expressed in her performance. But she's almost completely at sea, in a well-intentioned but tiresome film that ought to have been much better.