Monday, August 11, 2014

Still Life

Still Life is a tale of a man who is more interested in the recently dead than the living. His job is to bury people who have no-one to arrange their funerals. When a neighbour dies alone, he comes to realise what we have already seen - that he will die the same way.

How you cross the road defines your personality
Actor Eddie Marsan is very effective as a civil servant of strong principles and very little awareness of his life and the changing world. John May is the sort of civil servant whose concept how his job is to be done is completely foreign to modern life. The idea that a council worker should be interested in the dignity of the dead, and reuniting families and friends who have lost contact with a loner who has died is something his manager doesn't understand. His colleges, clergymen and undertakers all treat him with respect, understanding the principles he stands for, though realise that he is dinosaur. With change from above and his own situation dawning on him, John May tries in small ways to experience more of life and even other people. This is a slow comedy about one man's awakening self-awareness, which also has a social conscience.

Still Life felt like it should have been set in the Thatcher era. The idea that jobs and people like John May have survived into the 21st century is difficult to believe. The idea that local government should look after the welfare of the unfortunate with the rates we pay is crazy.

While the film maintained an admirable balance between sentiment, distance and humour, that balance slipped in the final few seconds, and I'll try hard to forget that flaw.

Ian's rating 4/5 Anne's rating 4/5

No comments:

Post a Comment