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Last night we watched "The Boys are Back" with Clive Owen.  What I thought would be a emotionally-laden film filled with gut-wrenching moments turned out to be a carefree examination of the loss of a mother figure and the transformation of a father figure.  The melodramatics were spared by the events being viewed through the eyes of a six-year-old and the father's (Clive Owen) distaste for his new situation.

The film dealt with divorce, another sticky subject for movies to run across; however, the real enemy role of the divorce situation was very matter-of-factly placed on the father's shoulders.  There were brief mentions of fights, and some steely glances from the ex-wife of over six years, but mainly the real touchiness came from the older son's sadness that his dad had left him years earlier to be with his new wife and son.  Much like the death and the funeral scenes early in the movie, this situation was also approached in a straightforward manner that doesn't illicit tears on behalf of the viewer.  

The plot - though based off a true story - felt almost too formulaic and choppy for its own good.  The director spends so much time laying down the sequence of scenes that the viewer has a difficult time relating to the characters through their various grievances.

What it DOES do, however, is provide many moments of smiles and knowing warmth from being around children.  There's a scene in the movie (and the trailer as well) when the father hears a horrible noise coming from the hotel bathroom, and races in to find his young son with goggles on and tub overflowing asking, "Can I do it again, Daddy?  Can I?"  There's also a scene where the father is very busy getting ready to leave, and the son comes in to the room.  The father says despondently, "You've got those on the wrong feet!" to which the little boy replies, 'But these are the only feet I have?"

In addition to the heart-warming moments interacting with the children, what stands up with a head above the crowd for this film is the cinematography and music selection.  I squealed when I saw on the title screens that some of the music was by "Sigur Ros" - they are absolutely one of my favorites (embedding is disabled by request on YouTube, otherwise I would provide a link).  In addition, one of the first songs of the movie is "All the Wild Horses" by Ray Lamontange (see below), which only two weeks prior to my viewing I had found and been obsessed with, listening to it over and over.  The movie is based in Australia, and the sunlight pouring over the fields and the house, soaking up in the boys' hair, is almost too much to deal with - it is that beautiful.  My photography self only wishes that I could be transported instantly there to be bathed in the same sunlight.

Overall, the movie was a pleasurable experience despite having rough transitions and a more formulaic plot.  The rich coppery sunlight, the interesting camera shots, the music, and the affection with the boys more than made up for any production deficits.   
 


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