One room, one continous take, four characters, three bags of ‘herb’.
Salvatore (Sal) is an ‘herbal enterpreneur’ – i.e. NOT a drug dealer.
His flatmate named Percival (Percy) is a struggling actor.
The two behave like an old married couple – but it becomes obvious that just like a married couple they couldn’t live one without the other.
What do they talk about? Girls, life, future. Then – when the girls arrive, they split into twos, however, whoever leaves the room is not followed. Just like in theatre, just like on stage.
I like such confined setups. It allows to focus the whole attention on what is being said rather than what happens. In a way this is a social analysis of contemporary 20-year olds and their lives, their hopes, their plans.
One of those films that should really be watched more than once to appreciate all the little tricks and layers of meaning.
After a too long introductory scene of shots of Paris, which can only be forgiven because it’s a Woody Allen, the audience gets immersed into a seemingly typical Woody Allen set. There’s a clever guy hopelessly trying to prove that this other man drawing to him the main guy’s woman is a loser. Surprisingly, this time Woody Allen is played by Owen Wilson. And very successfully. Maybe making a point that Allen’s ideas do not age and his characters are stuck somewhere between 35 and 43 with the eternal and universal every day issues of jealousy, pose, snobbism and inconvenient truths. Also the in-laws and their superior nonchalant treatment of the main character as if he weren’t an adult man responsible for his deeds and actions. A beautiful comedy of manners. As always.
There is more.
There is the philosophical trip through time where the main protagonist realises that being hooked on the past may not be the solution to living in the present.
There is an incredible mind game questioning his existence. What he sees and whom he meets becomes the best ever riddle and proper entertainment for those a little interested in the work and the great minds that resided in Paris during the Golden Age between WWI and WWII. An absolute must to anyone who a) appreciates Woody Allen and b) is fascinated by 20th century literature and philosophies.