Saturday, 31 December 2016
'Collateral Beauty' Review
When succesful advertising excecutive Howard (Will Smith) suffers a great tragedy, he becomes disconnected with life. To help cope, he writes letters, not to people but the entities of Love, Death and Time. It comes as a shock to Howard when the entities come to visit him in real life.
'Collateral Beauty' is perhaps the most Oscar-baity film of recent times that has completely fallen flat. The cast within this film most definitely has the capability to be an Oscar winning ensemble cast as it features past nominees Will Smith, Keira Knightley and Ed Norton as well as winners Kate Winslet and Helen Mirren. The cast is incredible to say the least and in all honesty, they aren't the problem. The film's biggest problem is due to how terrible the story is.
The trailer for this film doesn't show the real story so let me fill that in for you. The trailer shows Smith's character Howard write letters to Love, Death and Time who seemingly visit him in real life, much to his disbelief. The film would like you to think that it is actually Love, Death and Time that come and visit Howard. However, in the film the three entities are played by three theatre actors. The actors are hired in order for Winslet, Norton and Michael Pena's characters to prove that Howard is incapable of making decisions for the advertising company. Basically, this sets up that all 6 of these people are awful humans who are exploiting a mans depression for their own gain. This would be fine if the film was setting them up to be characters who you were to dislike but instead, they make side stories for them where you are made to feel sorry for them. How do you possibly expect that to happen when the main story is about them conspiring against someone who is mentally ill? Astonishing.
The character of Howard is a very strange one too. We've all tragically lost people and of course it is very hard to deal with that. The film however jumps years after the tragedy where you'd expect Howard to have became a bit better, definitely not in the state he is in the film. Howard refuses to do absolutely anything but yet still goes into work everyday. It's set up very weirdly as if someone was struggling that badly, they wouldn't even bother at all. All it's added for is to make more drama but it just doesn't really help. If they had made these events happen soon after the tragedy, then you could understand why he's struggling so badly but his work commitment that the film is based around is very odd.
The film is painfully obvious at times with its symbolism and not clear enough when trying to be deep. The opening of the film showcases how Howard's life is going well at work then cuts to a couple of years later where Howard knocks down a whole table full of dominoes. This signals how his life as came crashing down, just a bit too obviously as it tries to be deep. It backs this up though by showing how messed up Howard is as he cycles directly into oncoming traffic. It was melodrama at its finest as the film strives to be something deep but it really isn't. The film's title 'Collateral Beauty' comes from a line used in the film. At time a character will be talking to another, helping them out when they are down and will try to explain to them that there is 'Collateral Beauty'. The problem is, the film treats this as if it is a common phrase that everyone knows and doesn't explain it at all. There are a few moments where they say the term and you expect them to continue by explaining it. However, it is used as the main point of the advice and isn't continued at all that leaves you a bit puzzled. The film also pulls a twist at the end that is even more ridiculous than everything previous. I won't spoil it but it involves one of the awful 'Collateral Beauty' moments.
For what it is worth, the film's cast does have some OK moments. Helen Mirren is entertaining to watch throughout the film as she brings some charm to the film. Naomie Harris also does well as Madeleine as well who seems to be the only decent person in the film besides Howard. Smith does do fairly well in his role but he won't be up for that Oscar yet again. The rest of the cast is fairly disposable with Ed Norton trying to pursue an awkward love angle with Keira Knightley that just seems creepy rather than endeering. Nobody is particularly bad in the film, it's just that they don't have much to actually work with.
There is so much talent within this movie which is a real shame as this is a truly awful movie. The story is so ridiculously stupid as this film tries to be an Oscar type movie, whilst failing miserably at doing so. This is a truly awful film that you should avoid at all costs.
Final Verdict =
So have you seen 'Collateral Beauty'? If so, what did you think of it? I hope that this review was helpful for if you were planning on seeing the film or not. I urge you to stay away from this one. Once again, thank you for taking the time to read my review, it is much appreciated!
By Angus McGregor