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Monday, February 10, 2014

254 of 1001 Movies: The Decline of the American Empire (1986)

French Canadians do a movie just like the French do, well almost, except not as sophisticated. The Decline of the American Empire though is a movie that at one point during it's year was the highlight of award shows. I just felt like I was watching a more sexed up and less interesting version of The Big Chill. I know you're asking what The Big Chill has to do with this, but I couldn't help but the vibe of this movie reminded me of that movie.

Summary: Friends gather together to prepare for an evening together. Much of their conversation revolves around their sexual encounters and experiences. Remy, Pierre, and Claude are preparing dinner while the ladies are out and about chatting. The three reveal their own sexual affairs and preferences. Diane, Louise, and Dominque gather to discuss their encounters as well, and everything they hope or believe their significant others aren't doing. When they all gather for dinner at the end of the day though some awkward revelations are made that stir up trouble among the couples and friends.


Acting: There are a few names on the list that seem to be bigger than others. Loise Portal is Diane. Diane will also probably be the most memorable from the movie. Remy Girard is Remy, and well not a very likable guy in my opinion but honestly I didn't find any of the characters to be likable. There is Yves Jacques as Claude. His character takes some fascinating developments, but as with the rest still just not very likable and really creepy. Pierre Curzi is Pierre. Dominque Michel plays Dominque in the movie and Dorothee Berryman plays Louise. The acting was good from the cast, and they all feel like realistic people, but there was just something about the characters that I didn't connect with nor find interest in.

Filming: Denys Arcand directs, and well just as the characters aren't fascinating there wasn't anything particularly alluring about the way it was shot either. I assume the music was to give us the idea of this old empire that Arcand wants to instill in us. I only felt the topic of the title of the movie was only vaguely touched on as well. You have the colors and styles of the 80's though, so that adds something to the movie.

Plot: You're basically waiting for the build up to the dinner the entire length of the movie. There is just way too much discussion at the beginning. I felt the movie was trying to shock me by giving me a look into the lifestyle of these people, but I just thought it was too much. Living in 2014 I don't believe people are really shocked by this stuff, and in the 80's it might have been much more groundbreaking. Plus I have nothing to grow attached to these characters outside of their sexual interest. We don't get to know them on any deeper level than that.

The Decline of the American Empire seems like it might would be good, and I can see why it might have held it's appeal at the time, but overall the music was a bit dull, and the movie felt a little uneven to me. I can only hear people talk about their sexual lives so much till I just grow frustrated with how little they perceive the ones around them.


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