Tuesday, 10 February 2015


The invisible lines in art that separate good from bad, tolerable from intolerable, gratuitously demolished by the most committed artists - in cinema, auteurs. 'Intolerable' is perhaps the wrong term, since the worst elements of Jupiter Ascending are not intolerable, they're just rather difficult to overlook when forming a regard for the film entire. Jupiter Ascending is a vivacious work of art so singular, and by auteurs so devoted to their vision, that its indifference toward those lines permeates near every decision made in its creation: the visual design could be considered garish or glorious, the tonal shifts abrasive or appropriate, the acting irritating or inspired. No matter your opinion on the individual outcomes of your assessment, nor on that of the film as a whole, you must admire Andy and Lana Wachowski for the audacity of their vision, and the purity with which they've exacted it - I suspect Jupiter Ascending is precisely as they intended it. Observe the attention they lavish upon the slightest details in the smallest shots, and in the grandest ones, since there are some CGI compositions here of outrageous depth. The scale of the design is matched by that of the narrative, rendered nonsensical by its boundless detours and tiresome expository segments. Alas, Jupiter Ascending's plot functions as a conduit for procuring the Wachowski siblings' principal concerns, which, luckily, they oblige in handling with brilliance. Subtextual theorising on familial bonds and an interest in female psychology (albeit mild and momentary) are welcome; thrilling action sequences are essential, as one scene set in mid-air Chicago represents a pinnacle of achievement in action filmmaking. It's these details that obliterate the invisible lines between good and bad in this delightful work of art, or, at least, obliterate our capacity to care about them.