DVD Some Velvet Morning

DVD Some Velvet Morning
DVD Some Velvet Morning
Run time: 84 min
Rating: 6.0
Genres: Drama
Director: Neil LaBute
Writers: Neil LaBute
Stars: Stanley Tucci, Alice Eve
Storyline
Fred (Stanley Tucci) arrives at the doorstep of his beautiful young mistress Velvet (Alice Eve) after four years apart, claiming to have finally left his wife. But when she rejects his attempts to rekindle their romance, his persistence evolves into obsession – and a dark history between the former lovers comes into focus. A return to form for writer/director Neil LaBute (In the Company of Men, Your Friends & Neighbors), Some Velvet Morning is an astutely written portrait of a very modern romance. Written by Tribeca Film
Plot Keywords: misogyny, play acting, rape, single setting, real time
Details:
Country: USA
Release Date: 10 December 2013 (USA)

4 Comments

  1. "Some velvet mornin' when I'm straight I'm gonna open up your gate And maybe tell you 'bout Phaedra And how she gave me life And how she made it end." Lee Hazlewood.

    Writer/director Neil LaBute acknowledges Swedish playwright August Strindberg after the credits of Some Velvet Morning. And well he should, for his Some Velvet Morning has naturalism with touches of Ibsen in an entertaining two hander that barely covers the violent potential of its male, Fred (Stanley Tucci) and female (Alice Eve). The film is contemporary-dialogue driven, and that works swell for me, a word guy.

    Lee Hazelwood's lyrics, above, sung by Hazelwood and Nancy Sinatra in the '70's, suggest that the mythical Phaedra, whom Hippolytus spurned, holds questions to be unanswered about the ballet between the sexes. LaBute's modern romance, albeit she is a prostitute, suggests few answers for lovers are yet to be found even over thousands of years.

    As in Strindberg's Miss Julia, the sexual play is masked by a restraint that is in check only part way through the film. Fred returns to Velvet after four years expecting her to drop everything for him. The dialogue dance grows intense as it's clear she does not want to resume the relationship. She repeats, "You need to leave, before I get…" as he demands she finish the thought. Hers is largely a reactive role that harks back to times when women were barely heard or seen.

    Although the intense sexual battle in the film might lead to violence, as it did in the Phaedra legend, restraint holds sway, just as you might expect from attorney Fred and classy call girl Velvet. The verbal violence does not have the high class intonations of, say, Tracey Letts' August: Osage County or the middle class rudeness of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf; it does deftly display the hidden horror of relationships gone bad. LaBute lets his actors suggest the bad blood between former lovers and by extension the dangers of any male-female contests.

    I hope the film's success does not rest on the surprise ending, which may trivialize an eternal contest between males and females. The hooker- with-a heart of gold motif doesn't apply. This Adam and Eve are in charge of their fates, and it's not pretty.

  2. For various reasons, over the years I've only seen four films by writer- director Neil LaBute with the last being the extremely funny 'Death at a Funeral.' I'm aware the filmmaker has a loyal fanbase and after just watching his latest effort 'Some Velvet Morning' I can understand why. LaBute appears to be able to focus on the unpleasant side of human nature and whether it be in a comedic turn like 'Death at a Funeral' or a straight drama, LaBute takes control and pushes your nose into the dirt so you don't miss a thing.

    The fact Stanley Tucci gave an incredible performance didn't surprise me in the slightest but I didn't expect such natural talent from Alice Eve. Tucci has a huge amount of movie credits with his only bit of recognition from the Academy being a solo nod for his supporting role as the creepy George Harvey in 'The Lovely Bones' from 2010.

    Stanley Tucci plays Fred, who we learn has just left his wife and turned up unexpectedly at Velvet's doorstep. Velvet isn't exactly enamoured at Fred showing up in this manner, as she has a dinner engagement she seems determined to get to. Fred clearly has feelings for Velvet but the feelings don't appear to be mutual, and she tries several times to make him aware of this.

    Velvet's attempts at letting Fred down gently initially fall on deaf ears, but he eventually gets angry because, instead of the warm welcome he'd been expecting, Velvet just wants him to leave. Things turn ugly with Fred making various threats and accusations, leaving Velvet, along with the audience, feeling very uncomfortable.

    They apparently haven't seen each other in 4 years and Velvet is now getting on with her life. To complicate matters, Fred learns Velvet occasionally sees his son, and the two have dinner together, which makes Fred jealous, giving him ammunition to use against her. Watching Fred begin as an amiable ex-lover, then over the course of the morning, turn darker and threatening towards Velvet, did make for uncomfortable yet riveting entertainment.

    Tucci slid so easily into the role of Fred and gave as good a performance as I've ever seen from him. Right from the getgo we know Velvet has a problem with Fred being there, and Eve played this part so naturally. There was no music for the entirety of the film, creating a more realistic scenario, and when the shock ending finally arrives, it was the lack of music that nailed the situation for me. 'Some Velvet Morning' wasn't an easy film to watch, simply because it was so effective. I can't recommend this film any higher so make a point of seeing it.

  3. Lets get this out of the way, its not a very entertaining movie, after all it contains only one location, 2 actors and it draws more from La butte's theater background than film language, this is also an oddity as it is a straight drama(occasional joke aside) unlike Labutte's dark comedies of the past; that said, solid and disturbing dialog, a surprising ending and a powerhouse performance by Stanley Tucci raise this as one of the most interesting films to come out in a while.

    As said in the summaries, the movie pits a bitter and unstable character played by Stanley Tucci against a woman played by Alice Eve, who seems to hold secrets in both her own life as well as the shared common past between the both of them, and as their conversation prolongs, secrets, bile and nastiness are spread all over the clinical white townhouse.

    Stanley Tucci, as said previously, steals every scene he is in, while Alice eve plays it more subdued, but then again, her character doesn't have as many grand moments, and she does a magnificent job, especially towards the end of the film.

    The cinematography and set design fit the movie perfectly, contrasting the neat empty house with the fiery discussion that takes place in it, and while I'm sure it was a deliberate decision, the hand-held camera seems to be operated by someone with Parkinsons disease, there are scenes where it seems to shake and bob all over the place, becoming a bit distracting.

    The movie may be off putting to many, first of all because the dialog is an exercise in spitefulness and cruelty, which many people will find hard to stomach, secondly at first glance there appears to be a randomness in the plot, which is to be expected as this is a dialog driven film, however this lack of entertainment may drive away some, finally there's THAT ending, some may feel cheated, some will think its one clever piece of cookie, and to say anything about it here would spoil the film in its entirety, Finally, i guarantee you, that if you make it past all the prejudices that could arise from watching something like this, you will find a very original, brilliant and haunting piece of cinema.

  4. The movie revolves around two people in a home talking, discussing, arguing, fighting, crying and looking back on their past relationship, that's it seriously. You immediately think to yourself that this would be perfect for a two person play and how did it make it to the big screen. But to seat there in your seat and watch Fred (Stanley Tucci), an attorney behave like some 16 year old and gorgeous Velvet (Alice Eve)have to speak to Fred like a child is almost insulting to your intelligence. As the conversation continues you begin to sense that their relationship is somewhere in the Fatal Attraction category. Fred speaks to Velvet like she is on the witness stand but Velvet is the adult in the room. After a while the conversation is getting old,scary and you wish the thing would just end. Not so fast, the movie ends in a very unique way that will make you take a deep breath and say "You got to be kidding me."

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