Saturday, 12 November 2011

The Big Year Review

Given the subject matter and knowledge I had of the movie going in, I had a feeling it would be a subtle but fun feel good story.  And that is just what it is.  The Big Year is a typical "learning what is important in life" movie.  It uses the activity of obsessive and competitive birdwatching and a metaphor for finding your way in life.  It's pretty thinly veiled (and sometimes not at all) but that doesn't make it any less enjoyable.  While it is a comedy, it doesn't rely on getting laughs to keep the viewer interested.  Instead, it relies a lot on some good acting and a very strong story with some comic events mixed in.  The result is a really tight and light hearted movie.

I wasn't expecting too much.  After all, the film wasn't marketed much and really doesn't have much of a hook to compete with the plethora of choices out there.  Except for one thing.  It has an absolutely spectacular cast.  You get excellent and heartfelt performances from all of the three main actors of Steve Martin, Jack Black and Owen Wilson.  None really stand out from the other two but if I had to pick the best performance, it would be Martin.  He was the most believable and likeable of the three.  And then the supporting cast is full of strong and recognizable people.  Even if they are in only a few scenes (like Brian Dennehy or Anthony Anderson) or even one scene (like Steven Webber and Corben Bernsen), there isn't really a poor performance.

All of the strong acting mixed in with the right pace and a heartwarming story, makes the viewer actually care about what happens to the characters.  You even want the jerk (played by Owen Wilson) to succeed.  When that happens, you know you have a good movie.  And that is even strengthened by strong camera work in the tremendous scenery and some fantastic choices in music, especially in the brief but effective montages.  The end result is a very tight and strong movie (but I think I already said that).

See it.  Unfortunately, it wasn't marketed much so it likely isn't even in the theatre anymore.  But, thanks to on demand, DVD, etc, you should be able to find it and it is worth the effort.

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