“I don’t need to hear the whole story.”
St.Vincent is the latest in a spew of films being released this Oscar season. It boasts a more than capable cast which consists of Bill Murray (Ghostbusters), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Naomi Watts (King Kong) and finally Chris O’Dowd (Bridesmaids). When a recently divorced mother moves in to a new neighbourhood with her son, ‘Oliver’ finds an unlikely friend in his unusual enigmatic next door neighbour ‘Vincent’ played by Bill Murray.
St.Vincent is being sold as a comedy to audiences which I think is totally wrong. Yes, the film does have it’s funny moments, but not that much more than the average film. To me St.Vincent is a drama that has been intelligently and realistically written, subsequently promoting dry humour like everyday conversations would in reality. The screenplay is natural and fluent, it progresses at a nice pace causing the film to not feel too long or too short. Vincent’s dialogue is short and witty, but exercises itself well beside characters just as well as opposite characters.
The direction is noticeable, which may sound like a strange thing to say when I’m not talking about a well known auteur like Wes Anderson or Quinton Tarantino. I do not know much about Theodore Melfi the director but the cinematography is often quite odd or offbeat. However on the other side of the coin he does use some interesting shots that are eccentric and truly stand out while being presented. He seems to have a particular style, for example a lot of the time when characters are conversing he displays them in single shots, that cut back and forth.
This film does not work without Bill Murray. Bill Murray is phenomenal and the film as well as the cast completely bounce off him. I don’t think any other actor could pull off a character who’s funny, realistic and mysterious. His characters chemistry with the young boy Oliver is innate, from seeing the characters in their introductory scenes it’s logical they would get on so instinctively. On the outside he seems like a jackass, but deep down in Murray’s performance you can spy a good heart and a troubled past. A nomination at least for his work here is duly deserved. Nevertheless Melissa McCarthy exposes more talent under the hood and plays a very grounded single mother, she does this well and it’s refreshing to see that she can move away from the similar and reoccurring comedic roles she portrays in Tammy and Bridesmaids.
All things considered St.Vincent is not the straight up comedy it is being sold as, by the last half of the film it’s comedic moments are mostly gone. Despite this, St.Vincent is a very good film that has a lot to offer about life lessons and people’s pasts. Just please don’t bring your buddies and expect a laugh every 5 minutes or you will be disappointed!
St.Vincent will be released in UK cinemas December 5th.
Words by Eddie