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Of Time and the City

Posted by martinteller on December 2, 2012

You could call this Terence Davies’s love letter to Liverpool.  That is, you could if there was any love in it.  Davies comes off like a pompous, cranky curmudgeon in his narration.  In stark contrast to the bittersweet nostalgia of Distant Voices, Still Lives and The Long Day Closes, in this film he takes out all the sweet and leaves only bitter, waxing acidic over archival footage of the city of his youth.  At times it’s almost comical as he seems to nearly choke on his own bile as he spits out some angry remembrance or sarcastic observation.  Not even The Beatles are safe from his widespread disdain.

The film is at its best when Davies gets personal instead of delivering some “Things sucked then and they suck even more now” message.  His youthful struggles with his burgeoning homosexuality, for instance, are quite touching and heartfelt, and his growing disillusionment with religion is insightful.  I also enjoyed his rants about the monarchy (honestly, I don’t know why anyone puts up with such nonsense) and the use of music is, as always, evocative and original.  But the movie in general is too scattershot and plodding and miserable, and Davies comes off like such an unbearably cranky old fuck that I just wanted to get out of there.  My first disappointment from this director.  Rating: Poor (56)

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