Finney masterclass but a minor work from its director
- Under the Volcano review by JO
Set appropriately in Mexico on The Day of the Dead 1938, Geoffrey Firmin, a lonely depressive who has lost his job and whose wife has left him retreats into alcohol to console his sorrows.
A long cherished project for Huston who adapted Malcolm Lowry's acclaimed, multi-layered novel over several years. The resulting screenplay strips the novel of much of its political subtext of Mexico's corruption by Nazi Germany in the run up to WW2 and focuses purely on the character of Firmin, a raging alcohol who deludes himself into thinking he 'drinks himself to sobriety'. A slowly paced drama which struggled to sustain my interest (particularly a result of showcasing such a dislikable, self-absorbed character). However, Finley's performance as the drunken diplomat is astonishing. He really inhabits the character of Firmin, manifesting his mannerisms and tics so credibly that it alone is worth watching. Jacqueline Bisset as his caring wife, Yvonne, delivers a good supporting performance.
The direction is solid but fairly casual. Huston elects not to use innovative camera techniques, or flashbacks , in order to let the acting tell the story. Thankfully, Finley is more than capable of doing that with such a barnstorming performance. But even so it does become quite tiresome as a film lasting 2 hours. Worth watching for Finney as possibly the greatest performance of a drunk ever filmed.
0 out of 0 members found this review helpful.