Friday, June 04, 2004

Is there an actor more beautiful than Ewan McGregor? And what a pity that his wonderfully expressive face is not put to more use. McGregor was brilliant as the naive protagonist of Moulin Rouge and Big Fish, two flawed movies for which he doesn't get enough credit despite the freshness and vitality of his performances (and that voice!!!!!!). Yet he can be terrifyingly feral like he was in TrainSpotting, Velvet Goldmine and now Young Adam.

David McKenzie's taut low-key film stars McGregor as Joe, who works for for a bargeman, Les, played by Peter Mullan. The movie is unflinching in it's protrayal of barge life, dark, uncomfortable and mind-numbing. To relieve his boredom, Joe indulges in mindless bouts of fucking and there is something disturbing about the way Joe eyes Les's wife, Ella, played by Tilda Swinton. Their relationship and the discovery of a body in the barge of a woman named Kathy, with whom Joe apparently had another sexual fling, is the crux of this rivetting movie.

McGregor, Mullan and Swinton are amazing. I find it unbelievable the amount of dedication that Swinton brings to her roles. As Ella, she brings a kind of feverish intensity to the sex scenes, which are stark, dank and rough. McGregor gets to project a kind of sinister narcissism that he hasn't displayed since Velvet Goldmine and his performance only goes to show that he's the most under-rated actors today. Not to mention the most beautiful!

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