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Monday, May 21, 2018

The Ebony Tower (1984)

A young artist (Roger Rees) is commissioned to write a study of an elderly but revered painter (Laurence Olivier) who lives in seclusion in France. When he arrives, he finds that the older man has two very young female companions (Greta Scacchi, Toyah Willcox) and he finds himself drawn to one of them even though he's married. Based on the novella by John Fowles (THE FRENCH LIEUTENANT'S WOMAN) and directed by Robert Knights. This is one of those films where nothing much seems to happen but much of what is interesting about it is what is left unsaid. The movie is really about Rees' character but it's Olivier who steals the show. His portrayal of an aging artist, afraid of losing his vitality and relevance in a changing world, is played close to the vest. Rees seems rather sad and colorless next to him. Scacchi gives a lovely enigmatic performance while Willcox is brassy and all surface. The subtle underscore is by Richard Rodney Bennett (MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS). With Georgina Melville and Denise Bailly.

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