Pin It
Favorite

DVD Review 

Chaplin & r & & r & by DANIEL WALTERS & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & B & lt;/span & iopics suffer from the simple problem that, at the end of the day, they have to be about some person's actual life, and reality rarely follows the classic cinematic plotline. Our lives are full of haphazard starts, the climaxes come at all the wrong times, and our d & eacute;nouement can drag on decades.





Biopics generally set up the biggest success of the titular character early, then spend the rest of the movie slowly chipping away at his life, one small tragedy at a time, until the once-proud man has been thoroughly broken. (See The Aviator and A Beautiful Mind.)





So Chaplin, a biography of the funniest star of the silent movie era, hardly brings as many smiles as Chaplin's movies. The pratfalls, the herky-jerky movement, the wacky sound effects -- they're all there. But as soon as the films stop, he takes off his bowler hat, removes his Hitler-stache, and becomes a very sad little man.





Robert Downey Jr.'s portrayal of Chaplin is a far cry from the rat-a-tat one-liner-spewing characters Downey plays today. Downey's Chaplin flashes brief moments of swagger and confidence, but mostly he fits right in with "sad clown" stereotype. While his lips smile, his eyes don't. As indignities add up -- anti-immigration sentiment, romantic failure and accusations of Communism -- he sinks deeper into introversion and isolation.





The brief special features in this "15th Anniversary Edition" are mainly about Chaplin rather than about Chaplin. Some featurettes detail Chaplin's rise, fall, and mystique. There's also some great "home movie" footage of Chaplin mugging for the camera on an ocean cruise. Sadly, neither a director's commentary nor any of Chaplin's short films are included.





The movie itself has a few inspired touches. It's framed from a conversation between Chaplin and the editor of his autobiography. There are moments that are filmed with the same sort of wacky pacing and slapstick as his silent movies. But the silly moments are far outweighed by the somber ones.





If you're looking for a sometimes poignant, deeply melancholic film, Chaplin makes a great pick. But if you're looking for light entertainment, rent City Lights instead. (Rated PG-13)

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Crash > Click > Cash
  • Crash > Click > Cash

    Lawyers and chiropractors already have your name, your address and the police report from your car accident — and they want you to hire them
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Starting Small
  • Starting Small

    A village of tiny houses in Spokane Valley could serve as a model for fighting homelessness in the region
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • Drastic Action
  • Drastic Action

    Spokane among seven school districts sued by State Superintendent of Public Instruction; plus, trio of police-chief finalists are in town
    • Jul 21, 2016
  • More »

Comments

Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu | Fri
Art on the Street

Art on the Street @ Spokane Art School

Saturdays, 1-4 p.m. Continues through Aug. 27

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by n/a

  • Iron Upgrade
  • Iron Upgrade

    The new one is smart and funny and action-packed, and it’s bigger and better and sleeker. And Downey does it again, this time ramping up Stark’s arrogant wisecracking, telling anyone who’ll listen (mostly women) that, via the creation of his powerful Iron Man suit, he’s brought years of uninterrupted peace to the world.
    • May 12, 2010
  • Seeing Gay
  • Seeing Gay

    A festival showing GLBT from all angles
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • Get Out the Vote
  • Get Out the Vote

    With all the uncertainty in the world these days, hot wings and cold beer are two things we can get behind
    • Nov 9, 2009
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • Lane Ends Ahead

    Spokane wants to improve a mile-long section of Monroe — but that means taking away two lanes
    • Jul 7, 2016
  • Too Smart for School

    What happens when a 12-year-old prodigy tries to go to college in Spokane?
    • Jun 30, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment

green zone


marijuana


Briefs


election 2016


trail mix


Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Whitman Privilege
  • Whitman Privilege

    Why Walla Walla's Whitman College has come under fire for having so few low-income students
    • Apr 22, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation