The Longest Week (2014)
Editor’s Notes: The Longest Week is now playing in limited theatrical release.
It is highly likely that one will walk away from The Longest Week and seek out a film by Noah Baumbauch, Woody Allen, Wes Anderson or even Stanley Kubrick, as the influence of these and other directors practically screams at the audience from every frame of writer/director Peter Glanz’s debut feature. Although the aforementioned filmmakers have entries in their filmography that are more clearly defined in their vision and are finer examples of quality cinema,The Longest Week introduces us to an exciting new voice in cinema still pursuing his own cinematic voice.
If ever there was a master of snark and deadpan deliver, it would be Jason Bateman, who stars in the film as affluent man-child Conrad Valmont.
If ever there was a master of snark and deadpan deliver, it would be Jason Bateman, who stars in the film as affluent man-child Conrad Valmont. Following his parents divorce, Conrad is cut off from his fortune and evicted from his wealthy living situation. Rather than confronting the reality of his situation and learning how to become a functional adult, he moves in with his best friend Dylan Tate (Billy Crudup) and proceeds to steal his girlfriend Beatrice Fairbanks (Olivia Wilde).
The presence of such a great cast (which also includes small supporting roles with great moments for Jenny Slate and Tony Roberts) makes some of the script’s lackluster tendencies intensely more watchable. Bateman is on his A-game here, playing an self-centered moron living in his own reality. Crudup is equally hilarious, and Wilde is perfect playing a smart, sexy, career-driven woman. Though it’s undeniable that Bateman and Wilde share such great chemistry, it is hard to buy their relationship. It is established early on that Conrad and Dylan are in the habit of bedding a certain type of woman. Beatrice is a strong independent woman with class, brains, and beauty. Why is she hanging around these guys? It’s too hard of a sell to have any hint of believably.
Despite his influences being so tangible and a good number of glaring script issues, Glanz’s work here often feels original.
Despite his influences being so tangible and a good number of glaring script issues, Glanz’s work here often feels original. Here is a film stuffed with humor, subtly brilliant shot composition mixed with great musical choices and a fantastic cast delivering great performances. Particularly commendable is Glanz’s sense of self-awareness, particularly when he has characters poking fun at the various storytelling devices at work within the film. Equally hilarious are the moments where characters engaged in intellectual debates over culture and society. It’s clear that Glanz wants to give all his characters a moment to shine, and he writes brilliant dialogue for all of his actors no matter how big their role.
Despite it’s brief running time of about 84 minutes,The Longest Week lives up to its title by the time the third act kicks in. Repetitious scenes, minimal characterization, and lack of any resolution (a fact the film gleefully acknowledges in hopes that we will forgive these shortcomings) prevent the film from being a truly great debut, with the film having many great moments instead of being a great work altogether. I believe that Mr. Glanz has a truly great film in him, hopefully several, and I eagerly await his next outing.
Repetitious scenes, minimal characterization, and lack of any resolution prevent the film from being a truly great debut, with the film having many great moments instead of being a great work altogether.