Behind the Candelabra

behind the candelabra posterSteven Soderbergh comes full circle presenting his supposedly last film in Cannes, the festival that put him on the map with his first award-wining feature film, Sex, Lies and Videotape. And, to an extent, Behind the Candelabra is somewhat reminiscent of his debut, not in terms of visuals but because of familiar themes such as image, lies and loneliness behind the mask.

Based on the life of Liberace, a virtuoso pianist who was popular in the late 70s and was a precursor for the likes of Elton John, Behind the Candelabra provides an opportunity for Michael Douglas and Matt Damon to play against type. Embodying these kitschy characters, they find the right balance between caricature and pure fun. Douglas plays Liberace as a generous but poisonous figure, a sort of doctor Frankenstein who transforms his lover (Scott Thorson) and then gets rid of him. The film portrays 10 years of their love story set in the musician’s flamboyant universe; and just like most couples, their relationship includes tenderness, jealousy, arguments and breakups. Liberace turns his lover into his right-hand man, the latter helping him build his empire and fulfill his megalomania. They complete and ultimately mirror each other: Thorson get supported financially by Liberace who, in return, feeds on his candor before corrupting him with drugs and other excesses.

Aiming at brushing a colorful portrait, Soderbergh pays attention to every detail, from accessories to costumes, wigs, prosthetics and rococo decorations. Based on a book written by Scott, the film has factual legitimacy, but the scenario unfolds in a very conventional manner, leaving the spotlight to the actors; and ultimately, performances are really what matters here, Damon having fun with machismo while Douglas transcends the screen with his character’s eccentricities. As for the movie itself, it performs its duty honestly, both the love story and direction looking pretty conventional out of context.

Director: Steven Soderbergh – Starring: Michael Douglas, Matt Damon – Running Time: 1:58 – Year: 2013 – Country: USA

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Moland Fengkov

Moland Fengkov

Based in Paris, Moland is a journalist and photographer; He is more particularly responsible for covering the Cannes film festival for Plume Noire, writing movie reviews and taking gorgeous pictures.
Moland Fengkov

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