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Saturday, May 24, 2008

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PETER SELLERS (2005)

Considering that Geoffrey Rush looks more like Woody Allen & sounds more like Alec Guinness than Peter Sellers, this HBO bio-pic is unusually effective. While comedians are notoriously impossible, Sellers was contemptible, mentally & physically unreliable & just plain mean. The film asks what was inside his comic masks, but perhaps the question should be, ‘was it worth it?’ In addition to Sellers & his comic creations, Rush also acts out self-justifying rewrites on all the major characters in his life (male & female) at brief critical moments. And the showy dramatic conceit pays off handsomely. Less sensible is reordering his work with Stanley Kubrick & Blake Edwards. Why? A big nod to the producers for the smorgasbord of acting talent in support (Charlize Theron, John Lithgow, Emma Watson, Stephen Fry, Stanley Tucci) plus a couple of nifty cameos.

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