Monday, 16 January 2012

Last Night with Keira Knightley

Scene from Last Night

First off, I've to confess I could watch Keira Knightley read a novel for hours and still think she's something wonderful - as a person as well as a fine actor, so it's an obvious understatement when I say I think I'm a tad biased.
And no, it wasn't really her turn as Elizabeth Swann in Pirates of the Carribbean that did me in (as fine as her performance was); nor was it her Oscar-nominated role as Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice. Oddly, it was the British romantic comedy Love Actually where she took on a smallish role as Juliet, the newly-wedded object of unrequited love for Mark (Andrew Lincoln from Walking Dead). I don't know why, but Keira's portrayal of the girl-next-door who blossoms into this radiant, amazing young woman made it plausible and completely believable for Mark to fall hard for her character. 
Keira is aces at scenes in which she has no lines, but is required to show her character's state of mind and emotion through facial expression. She proves this again and again be it in her final scene in Love Actually, or the unforgettable library scene in Atonement. 
In Last Night (dir. Massy Tadjedin), a movie about ennui in marriage, infidelity, regrets and choices - stunningly sad that this theme is so commonly equated with movies made for adults and grown-ups - Keira shines. As writer Joanna, wife to Michael (Sam Worthington), married for four years and unable to get started on her second novel, Keira portrays her superbly - not unhappy, but not exactly exuberantly fulfilled in love, life and career either. 
While Michael is away on a business trip, one wrought with temptation in the form of an attractive, desirable and very interested female colleague, Laura (Eva Mendes), Joanna runs into her ex, Alex (Guillaume Canet) whom she never quite got closure with. Thus unfolds the over arc-ing theme that puzzles over what marriage and its institution really mean. I liked that this film poses questions more than it provides answers, choosing not to pontificate and be self-righteous about what transpires. It's also befitting that it concludes as it does leaving it up to the audience to mull over the turn of events (I know I'm being cryptic here, but I don't want to spoil the ending). I watched this movie twice, because Keira's performance was so interesting, compelling and nuanced. I definitely recommend this film, and not just because I happen to be besotted with the illuminating Keira Knightley.