Lost in London full movie review - Innovative, ballsy idea that still managed to be a bit dull.
When Lost in London was previewed I was immediately taken with the idea. For those of you unfamiliar with it, this was billed as the world's first ever film to be shot live and broadcast into theaters simultaneously, in one big take from the streets of London.
Risky, and fascinating. I was reminded of the type of audience-intense atmosphere present at the "choose your own path" interactive experiments of the 1990s. While it was in fact pulled off quite well, the film suffers from attempts at humor mostly falling flat, and a story that turns out to be not all that interesting.
The brainchild of Woody Harrelson, this is a semi-true retelling of events of a night that spiraled out of his control and landed him in prison, leaving him with some serious questions to ponder about himself, his friendships, and the direction of his life. Particularly his relationship with his wife, who kick starts his terrible evening after reading about his fling with three women in a tabloid. There are some well known names here too besides Woody, and the supporting cast absolutely carries the film with performances that far exceeded my expectations and left me marveling at how they seemed to get it just right while filming live. That more than anything else kept me interested until the end.
Owen Wilson was good as the same character that he usually plays, trying to cheer Woody up in a gypsy-themed nightclub with mixed results. I didn't really find their actor's meta- banter all that funny but it was more popular with the audience. Willie Nelson who was a starring role here appears for maybe one minute, playing a tune in Woody's prison cell and giving him some words of wisdom. The police officers were alternately funny and human, and the free- spirited girl he meets outside the nightclub was strangely alluring and provided the most unexpected laugh when she receives a face full of vomit after leaning in for the expected kiss.
What I found most surprising is that Woody, who directed, produced, and stars, gives the weakest on screen performance. He seems overwhelmed, and comes off as very self-conscious throughout. In his defense, I can easily understand why with such a daunting task. His acting had almost zero nuance however and ranges from kind of upbeat, to a bit distressed. Considering that he's in every single scene, I hoped he would pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat and give the audience something before the end, but he never really breaks out of his funk.
The film moves at a relatively fast pace and the camera work is claustrophobic, with the majority of the shots being tight to the body and allowing for only the figures of one or two people in the frame when they're not in the process of moving to another place. The picture was clear- ish and never felt cheap, but had a kind of pallor to it, a soft greyness that did betray a little glass. I'm not going to complain about the sometimes dim lighting, for what they were working with it seemed remarkably done.
Even until the final scene arrived, I was wondering if Harrelson would in fact go through with his promise to jump into the Thames if it stunk, but even with its flaws it lived up to what it tried to accomplish and manages to be an okay film. Whether or not it stands up to viewing now that the novelty has worn off may be a different story.