Books to movies hold the potential to be some of the best films to hit the screen. With stories laid out for the directors, one would think that an adequate investment could bring the words to life. Yet, as often the case, the movies can only do so much with a budget to get the mindset and perspective the books bring, often not being able to match the magic of the written word. Still, they are a popular option to the masses and often the focus of my reviews. So Robbie K back with a 4threview this week on the latest book turned movie as I look into:
Movie: Art Of Racing In The Rain (2019)
The Musical Effects
The Dog Himself
The Dragged-Out Components
The Depressing Atmosphere
I can’t comment on the book as much as I have only read half, but the film has not done a half a bad job following the atmosphere and plot line of the book. So rather than going down how accurate it is, I’m focusing on some other aspects that I liked for the audience. A movie about racing means you got to have beautiful cars (yes I know this is symbolism), and this film succeeds in bringing powerful vehicles in beautiful designs to the screen in all shapes, colors, and sizes. Past this superficial component though, the highlights really come in the form of the acting of this dramatic piece. Milo Ventimiglia takes his Gilmore Girls and This Is Us roots and throws them full force in the smoldering way he does and if you love that then you’ll eat this up. Seyfried as well does her job well too, though not quite as involved as I would have hoped nor in the same manner I have seen her in the past. Costner though wins the best role for me as the voice of Enzo and like many great voice actors does a lot with little. He hits a good dynamic range of emotions and sells the comedic delivery of the lines, matching quite well with the adorable golden retriever that represents his avatar. Speaking of which, the dogs they get for movies continue to impress me in their training, not only in their ability to do tricks, but more so in how they can personify human emotions. This dog, or dogs depending on his age, accomplish the goal with good camera work to really sell the emotions of the book and was the character I, not surprisingly, latched onto. Helping to also bring all the emotional turmoil to perspective is the music editing, the use of orchestral pieces and sound editing to really add the background ambience to layer extra emotion to the mix. As monologues pour out of Enzo’s thoughts, the musical work compliments this well and may just impress you if you open your ears.
Unfortunately, the book’s emotional atmosphere is one of those that may not be the most exciting thing to show in a movie and I believe this made it difficult for me to enjoy in the movie. We start with the pace of the film, a rather unbalanced component that seemed to have difficulty finding its footing. One part too fast, the movie seems to skip the early adventures, getting to some heavy stuff within the first hour of showing which did not quite match the pace in the book. Upon hitting these heavy events, the movie’s pace suddenly shifts back to a lower gear, really maximizing on these moments and dragging out the suffering/drama of these moments. If this is the kind of drama you want in your movie, then fans will enjoy diving into what feels like hours of somber approaches then you have got it. Me, I like a little more pep in my dog movies, and this movie failed to give me much of that. Enzo’s tale contains wisdom, spirituality, and some great outlooks in life, but overall the feel of the movie is depressing which almost seems to maximize the sluggish pace. Movies like this are beautiful representations on life, but for this reviewer it is difficult to fully enjoy when there is little to break up the drudge that comes with this.
To quote my friend Austin, the title sort of gives you an idea of what to expect with this film. It’s a beautiful movie that takes life’s problems and gives us a unique perspective on how to handle it. With some great dramatic acting, musical overtures to emphasize the emotion, and a wonderful four-legged star to pin your hopes on. Yet, like modern day ABC dramas, especially This Is Us, the movie is super depressing and left many in my theater with teary eyes and sniffles. While I’m sure the book holds much of this too, I myself would have rather handled this content in a book, as my biggest issue (outside of the depression I felt) is the pacing having difficulty balancing the hope and sadness. Still, if you are a fan of dramas like this and want the spiritual, sob fest for a film, then this is the movie for you this weekend. Balancing all of this, my scores are:
Movie Overall: 6.0 – 6.5