Sunday, 28 June 2015

THE COLOR OF TIME - Review By Greg Klymkiw - 12 NYU students & Franco do C.K. Williams

The Color of Time (2012)
Prd. James Franco
Dir. Edna Luise Biesold, Sarah-Violet Bliss, Gabrielle Demeestere, Alexis Gambis, Shruti Ganguly, Brooke Goldfinch, Shripriya Mahesh, Pamela Romanowsky, Bruce Thierry Cheung, Tine Thomasen, Virginia Urreiztieta, Omar Zúñiga Hidalgo
Starring: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Jessica Chastain,
Henry Hopper, Zach Braff, Bruce Campbell

Review By Greg Klymkiw

The late poet C.K. Williams was one of the most celebrated writers in American literature, winning many major prizes including the Pulitzer Prize. James Franco was one of his huge admirers and selected a group of twelve film students at NYU to collaborate on a feature film based on Williams's writings. As a producer, he offered considerable mentorship and encouragement as well as putting together a first-rate cast and key-creative team.

The result is The Color of Time, a sweet bit of impressionistic film poetry which uses Williams's words to recreate moments from his life - the highs, the lows, the loves, the loves lost and always both the land and architecture rooted to the oddly pleasant, though occasionally languid qualities of the film.

Four actors - primarily Franco - play Williams at various stages from childhood to old age and, Williams himself makes appearances reading from his poetry. Perhaps the most full-bodied and beautiful work in the whole cast comes from Mila Kunis as Williams's wife. She's radiant, warm and always a pleasure to luxuriate it.

Both cinematography and art direction are superb. Along with Franco as a producer, the film has a remarkable stylistic consistency throughout, especially given the fact that the film has primarily been wrought by twelve writer-director students. Curiously, the film seems to take less inspiration from the famed American poet, making his words quite literal and liberally borrowing from late career Terence Malick. Is the movie a tad pretentious? Yeah, but charmingly so.

I can't say I wholly approve, though, since Malick's last two films were insufferable to me, but at the same time, these young filmmakers rather deftly steal the best of Malick for this odd, but pleasing experimental drama. The movie has a perfect pace and running time and, dare I say it, actually manages to be a lot more entertaining than either the The Tree of Life and To The Wonder. (And yes, the NYU kids manage to get just the right amount of twirly-bird, grainy, sun-flare shots of Mom Jessica Chastain whipping C.K in childhood round and round.)

One thing I can say in the film's favour is that my 13-year-old daughter has watched the film repeatedly. My first viewing was with her and she was absolutely mesmerized. She talked about the movie with me at length for days after that first screening. Her response to the film especially delighted me.

I doubt I'll ever forget her saying: "James Franco is so cool. He makes hilarious comedies, all those weird movies about crazy Americans [his William Faulkner and Cormac McCarthy film adaptations], that amazing movie based on Cruising [Interior. Leather Bar., his bizarre re-imagining of Friedkin's controversial thriller] and now this movie that reminds me of those long boring movies you took me to see [The Tree of Life and To The Wonder], but this one's way better."

Darling Daughter, I will not disagree.


The Color of Time is on DVD via Anchor Bay/Anchor Bay Entertainment Canada.