Tuesday, 27 January 2015

REVIEW - MORTDECAI (DAVID KOEPP)


Inadvertently functioning as the definitive statement on the fickleness of public sentiment toward celebrity, Mortdecai is an invaluable, and profoundly revealing document. Functioning, as are its intentions, as a comedic spy caper... well, it just doesn't. Mortdecai is all concept and theory: a promising notion here, a talented actor there, the recipe for a mildly-appealing piece of throwback nonsense nestled somewhere within the mess of inept filmmaking. The only thing preventing this film from excelling as a classic of artistic misjudgdment is its monotony, as scene after scene stumbles over the same questionable comedic routine. It is, however, almost completely, impressively pure in the detail and design of its worthlessness. To see capable actors of much repute commit themselves to material this unfortunate is a shockingly effective depressant; to see what glimmers remain of Johnny Depp's abilities, glimpsed only in brief glances that recall the distinctive personalities he has so memorably crafted in many other roles, is to observe the changing face of American film in an instant. Yet, it's a struggle to imagine that Mortdecai's sense of humour was ever in vogue, even before such silly send-ups of the 20th Century British aristocracy existed in this form (which they have done for decades). One character's sole punchline involves him repeating the word 'balls' at any appropriate opportunity - that's the standard of Mortdecai's humour, and also of its morals. There's a very clear difference between the portrayal of a politically-incorrect protagonist, and the perpetuation of sexism and homophobia in entertainment through lazy, misogynistic storytelling and direction. Whatever interest this film might have harboured as said document on the changing face of American film is sacrificed - Mortdecai is just a stupid, offensive, wasteful knock-off.