Saturday, 20 August 2011

Solitary Man, dir. Brian Koppelman, David Levien, wr. Brian Koppelman, st. Michael Douglas, Susan Sarandon, Mary-Louise Parker, Imogen Poots, Jesse Eisenberg, Danny DeVito

After decades of playing characters of ambiguous (often sexual) morality in films like Basic Instinct, Fatal Attraction and Disclosure or Faustian types undone by their own charisma and power like in Wall Street and The Game, it's interesting that maybe for the first time in his career, we have a Michael Douglas film that explores head on an imagined aftermath of one of these characters' lives. It may be glib to suggest that this is some kind of redemptive voyeurism a la Mickey Rourke in which we see art atoning for real-life indiscretions, but there's little doubt that there's something fascinating about watching one of Hollywood's leading men explore the nature of his Autumnal years and muse on his place in the world. The idea is that whilst women age and lose their looks, men are free to practise their cavorting and carnal embracing pretty much until their heart stops beating, but Solitary Man takes that notion and turns it on its head. We see Douglas' failed car salesman Ben Kalmen eye up pretty much every PYT going; a libido fuelled by fear and desperation rather than a healthy voracious appetite. He schmoozes and sleazes his way into beds with the exuberant enthusiasm of a toddler peddling his trusty old trike, unaware of how close he is to the abyss. This is a moving account of how we deal with the advancing years, humorous, absorbing, and possibly Douglas' finest role to date.