Saturday October 30th 2010
After two long weeks of films, parties and more Jameson Irish Whiskey than I ever imagined possible, the 54th London Film Festival finally came to a close last night with the European premiere of Danny Boyle’s loose remake of the first Saw film, 127 Hours.
I did actually take some photos this time, but after the universal acclaim of my Opening Night illustrations (read: one compliment on Twitter) I thought I’d get the pens out again and whip up a few nice drawings.
After suffering the indignity of queueing (!) to enter the red carpet, we were finally unveiled to rapturous applause from journalists, photographers and veritable hordes of fans. Lucky, lucky people.
Once again we were relegated to the upper reaches of the circle, and I ended up in the EXACT SAME SEAT that I had on Opening Night. It was all coming full circle.
After brief speeches from Amanda Neville and HRH Sandra Hebron, director extraordinaire Boyle took the stage and introduced us to his cast (James Franco) and crew (scriptwriter Simon Beaufoy and that guy from the Pussycat Dolls video). And as much as I dislike his movies, DB certainly seems like a very nice man.
The movie itself is largely rubbish. Danny Boyle is still incapable of keeping his camera still, straight or in focus, and his ‘directorial style’ is more blatant and distracting than ever. I can’t help but feel a small amount of admiration for someone who tries to make a movie like 127 Hours accessible and fun rather than grueling and worthy, but that admiration would be a whole lot stronger if he’d actually managed it.
James Franco is as good as ever (poor guy’s ended up in two of the worst films in the festival) and the supporting cast are perfectly adequate (including Lizzy Caplan in what can only be described as a walk-on part – what happened Janis?) but the film fails to raise tension because every single person in the audience knows how it ends.
And don’t give me the old ‘well I knew how Titantic would end as well’ excuse. This is entirely different. When you make a movie about a man testing a variety of different methods of freeing his arm from beneath a rock and everyone watching already knows exactly how he eventually manages it, it makes for repetitive viewing. If Jack and Rose had spent two hours desperately trying to make the Titanic sink until it finally it hit the iceberg, it might be comparable.
Still, it’s not as bad as Slumdog.
As the applause dissipated and the excessive praise began (I was tempted to agree when the woman behind me declared that ‘he’s done it again!’) we marched out into Leicester Square and onto the buses that would take us to the much-hyped after party.
It was at ‘London’s exclusive One Marylebone’ and seemed to be about 300% over-capacity. Maybe I’m turning into an old man but it’s very hard to hear what funny jokes Robbie Collin of the News of the World is making when Jason Solomons is rabbiting on behind you.
As I searched for a quieter corner, I stumbled upon the amazing sight of a ‘Reserved for Sandra Hebron’ placemat. As I grabbed a friend and pointed towards it, simultaneously reaching into my pocket in order to facilitate a very necessary Twitpic, I realised that Danny Boyle and James Franco were standing directly next to the sign, and to everyone else in the room it appeared that I was ‘that guy’.
I hate that guy.
Unsurprisingly, omnipresent-sponsorers Jameson were in full effect throughout the night, and I’m pretty certain I had about a million (give or take) of whatever cocktail it was I was drinking. I’m still feeling it.
As the night drew to a close, and the festival with it, all of my hopes and dreams were realised when I was introduced to the Queen of the Festival herself, Sandra Hebron. The details of our intimate chat will remain confidential, but I can confirm that she is very small, very nice and very Hebron.
And that, as they say, is closure.