Hello, everyone the 8th annual Independent Film Festival of Boston is off to a fantastic start!
Last night I went and saw the opening night film “The Extra Man” with Kevin Kline and director Robert Pulcini in attendance. The screening was surely sold out and the line to get into the theatre wrapped around the corners of the Somerville. Before the film began there was a man playing the Theramin to add to the festive atmosphere and later Tuft’s own Beelzebubs performed an awesome 3 song set.
Once pre-show festivities ended, the film began. It is one of the more strange films I’ve seen, not in a David Lynch sense of not knowing what’s going on but more in the sense that there are a handful of plot lines all fighting for our attention.
Based on the Jonathan Ames novel of the same name, the film follows, Louis Ives (Paul Dano) as he is fired from his job at the prep school he works at and decides to move to New York to fulfill his dream of becoming a writer. Ives is obsessed with the 1920’s and the literature of that time, specifically with The Great Gatsby. The Extra Man is in a very bizarre way a sort of pseudo-adaptation of The Great Gatsby that just so happens to include cross-dressing, Kevin Kline dancing in sweatpants and ruminations on environmentalism. Soon Ives moves into the apartment where the wild eccentric, escort Henry Harrison (Kevin Kline) lives. Ives quickly gets a job at an environmentalist magazine and Harrison starts to show him the over indulgent world of old New York money.
The film compellingly explores unrequited love and holds no judgments against it’s characters’ psychological issues including Ives’ habit of cross dressing. In the end though I was unsure of how all the plot lines connected. What was Mary Powell’s (Katie Holmes) importance in the grand scheme of the film? Was Gershon (John C. Reilly) simply there for comedic support? How does Ives’ story connect with the old spinster Vivian? Who knows, perhaps I am a bit too young to understand the meaning of the film. Do not get me wrong though, I thoroughly enjoyed the film and would definitely recommend it. The performances are across the board terrific. Kevin Kline does not have a single false beat in the movie, Paul Dano proves that he is one of the best young actors around and the supporting performances manage to be bizarre and hilarious without becoming caricatures. The writing is also terrific and the script highly quotable. I suspect this film may garner award nominations after it is released wide sometime in July.
After the film Kline accepted his Career Achievement Award with grace and humor. Upon receiving his award he remarked, “I’m honored and… whatever the opposite of humbled is.” Then director Robert Pulcini took the stage to partake in the audience Q and A. Both Kline and Pulcini seemed to really enjoy listening to comments from the audience and generously answered questions. All in all, it was a great way to kick off the festival. It runs until next Wednesday, make sure you go and see a film or two, there is so much going on you won’t want to miss it!
For complete info/ schedule click here: http://www.iffboston.org/