Thursday, May 18, 2006

A good night for it...

I was somewhat disappointed with the social commentary and political element of The Line of Beauty. It was as political as any episode of Miss Marple - numerous boring, ghastly old f**ts having dinner in improbably big rooms containing ornate furniture. If it weren't for the disco lights and the cursory mention of missile defence, Hercule Poirot wouldn't have seemed at all amiss - 'period' could have been any between 1900 and present. I'm hoping the appearance of Margaret Thatcher ushers in a penetrating look at 1980s Britain.

On the subject of penetration, the sex scenes weren't exactly graphic either in the same way as one guy giving another the Heimlich maneouvre isn't graphic. That was sex scene 1 which was the epitome of literary sex scenes, i.e. this is just *too* smooth to be real. In the TV drama, the two guys encountered an old bloke walking a dog in a private garden. After a brief discussion of Nick's virginity, they got it together in a bush whilst the old bloke pottered about obliviously nearby. Reality being what it is, one of them would have tripped over his pants and fallen into an ornamental thorn bush. The dog would have almost telepathically noted the incident and pelted yapping into the undergrowth, followed by its bemused owner. Both men would have needed to hurriedly clothe themselves whilst the dog leapt about sniffing Nick Guest's ass. They would have concluded the evening by pretending exuberant interest in horticulture [alert readers may remember that Ron Davies pretended a sudden interest in wildlife spotting following al fresco sex. If just we lived in a society where people could be honest and admit they had gone off for a s**g] "Oh my, I had to just rush and look at that awkwardincidentus bluffonius. I haven't seen such a perfect specimen outside of Kew Gardens. Wasn't that worth the sudden detour into these bushes at this late hour. Look at the leaves on that, Leo. My, isn't it getting late" whilst the old geezer tried to coax his frenetic dog out from under a rhododendron.

But then, being too close to reality is just a bit postmodern for comfort. It's a bit like when Nick met Pete. First rule of film is "If a character has a suspicious hacking cough then it's there for a reason. Characters do not cough as an interesting personality quirk. You may not know what's wrong with him. But it's significant and he's going to KILL YOU ALL by the end of the film. Run, run, run for the hills". But that would require Nick Guest to have known he was in a BBC TV adaptation/book. Which would too frighteningly self-referential.

The second sex scene mostly involved a bit of groaning in a bush. There were tantalising glimpses of Daniel Steven's ass through the foliage but in my entirely objective opinion, this was a sight that couldn't offend anyone. Well, I might have preferred this chap's ass but I'm hoping he's covered more fully in a later episode.

I haven't read the book but so far as I understand it, it's also about Nick Guest's provincial alienation from the privileged world of the Feddens. This was again something I never really felt watching the episode. He seemed to fit right in and the times he seemed to dissent were good manners rather than any sense of cultural and social distance. Nick's character was very much a flaneur but he seemed rather distant from just about anything. He seemed so distant behind his pale eyes that his sexuality also seemed peculiarly detached. Which was why the numerous camera shots of (clothed) groins and backsides were vaguely amusing. It appeared like Nick was pretty asexual and he just had an rather preoccupied cameraman.

As a drama it was incredibly good fun, well produced and Daniel Stevens is an incredibly good actor. Definitely worth a watch, even if just for Catherine Fedden's funky wardrobe.


  • At 4:47 pm , Blogger dynamite said...

    What a great soundtrack though. Desperatly cliched, but packed.

  • At 5:12 pm , Blogger Femme de Resistance said...

    I never noticed the soundtrack :#/

    I know... I know... apparently there's something memorable about the soundtrack but it just zoned over my radar somehow.

  • At 10:21 am , Anonymous Simon said...

    I am obviously more eassily pleased I really enjoyed it. I have only read a bit of the book a friend who has read the whole thing echoed your comments but then the chap from the Guardian seemed to think it was exidingly faithfully done.


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