SIFF Double Feature – The Man and Infinity Baby
The Man: Directed by Charlotte Sieling, The Man tells the story of Simon Brahe (Søren Malling), a world-famous Danish painter with a solid career, a beautiful wife, a workshop full of assistants to bring his ideas to life, a much-younger lover Lai, and a son he does not know. When that child, Casper (Jakob Oftebro), comes to visit him and his wife Darling (Ane Dahl Torp), Simon has a hard time figuring out what his son wants from him. He is by turns jealous and suspicious since it turns out Casper is well known as “The Ghost,” an artist who pastes his large-scale drawings onto buildings in the dead of night. Simon feels threatened by Casper’s success, and since his son also flirts heavily with Darling and Lai, there is more than just artistic manhood at stake.
Simon is a giant man baby who wears only pajamas and has Darling take care of the business of daily life. He is horrible and does not become less so as the film goes on. He is a stereotype of the artistic genius and drags the film down with him as he continues to act out against his son. I’m pretty sure not every film has to have a message, and not every character has to experience personal growth, but the lack of it in The Man made this hard for me to watch. Simon and Casper are caricatures of manhood who can only resolve their father-son issues through posturing, combat, and possession. They resolve their issues in the most asinine way possible, and Darling just stands by – happy her two idiots will live to annoy another day.
I really wanted to like this movie, but just couldn’t. Unlike many movies about artists, the art is actually interesting, but the film cannot overcome its clichéd depictions of what being an artist is supposedly like. It’s a man, supported by women, who cannot deal with the banalities of everyday life. But he’s a genius, so it’s okay that he’s an asshole. I would have enjoyed watching Simon learn that one doesn’t have to be an ego-driven narcissist to make interesting art. It might not have been the most original story, but it would have been far less annoying. This is a well-directed film, but just not the one for me.
The Man plays at the Kirkland Performance Center on June 4th.
Final Grade: C
Infinity Baby: Bob Byington’s new feature, Infinity Baby, has two parallel story lines running through it. In one, Malcolm (Martin Starr) and Larry (Kevin Corrigan) are delivering an Infinity Baby to a reluctant new mother. Due to a fetal tissue experiment gone drastically wrong, a cohort of babies was created that never age. Advances in pharmacology have made it possible for their eating and pooping to be controlled through a variety of pills, so for the would-be parent only interested in watching a baby coo and sleep, the Infinity Baby is the perfect child! And, they’ll get paid $20,000 to give the child a home. Unfortunately, the prospective parent declines to take the baby, and Larry decides that he and Malcolm should care for her (and the money). Unfortunate for the baby that is, because Larry and Malcolm would sooner tinker with the baby’s meds than actually change her diaper once a week. The other storyline belongs to their co-worker Ben (Kieran Culkin), a commitment-phobic jackass who depends on his mother (Megan Mullally) to dislike his girlfriends so much he has to break up with them.
This was not my movie. There appears to be some kind of message (just grow the fuck up already) but there was so much irony in the previous sections, it was hard to tell if that was what the film was really about, or if it was the opposite (it doesn’t really matter if you grow up – life is shit.) So basically I just watched some people be annoying and occasionally mildly funny for about an hour, and then each storyline had a little denouement, and then it was done. It was clumsy and silly and not at all in a good way. Although, if you are into Nick Offerman and you like well-groomed beards, he and his facial hair are in it. I can’t recommend this, but if anything in my description sounds appealing to you, it’s only 70 minutes out of your life and you may find something in it that I did not.
Infinity Baby will be playing June 2nd at AMC Pacific Place and June 4th at Ark Lodge Cinemas.
Final Grade: D+