Bill Murray. He’s a cult figure. Everybody likes him. Why? That’s not quite apparent. Fact is: Bill Murray is awesome. And he’s in a new movie that aired at the ZFF Zurich Film Festival tonight. We’ve been. Here’s what we think.
Bill Murray is an inherently funny man. Everything he does has this air of the absurd to it. He seems to be enjoying himself at whatever he does, even if it’s playing completely screwed-up characters who have more problems than you and your friends combined. And when he does it, he seems so light somehow without ridiculing the issues. All in all, Bill Murray is great. On to the movie.
On to the Movie
St. Vincent is a movie that doesn’t sound like it has much going for it. It’s about this man, Vincent, who’s a cranky and angry bastard. He has issues. He gambles, hates everyone and generally isn’t a man people like to be around. The only redeeming quality he has is that he’s Bill Murray, which is something that audiences disregard, because that’s not how movies work, is it?
Enter Maggie (Melissa McCarthy) who moves into the neighbourhood. She’s got a son, Oliver (Jaeden Lieberher), who’s rather tiny for his age. Because Vincent is also a war veteran, she recruits the alcoholic gambler who hates all the things to be a good influence on Oliver’s life. Yeah, maybe not the best idea there’s ever been.
St. Vincent has gotten a lot of accolades already. It came in second at the Toronto International Film Festival in the category People’s Choice Award for Best Film and pretty much every other review of it has been positive.
Some reviewers even compare the work by director Theodore Melfi who’s only done a TV-movie and four short movies before St. Vincent to the work of Wes Anderson who frequently works with Bill Murray.
These reviews were right. Okay, the bit about Wes Anderson is maybe a bit farfetched, even though there’s an underlying vibe of it. It lacks all the stylistic elements of Anderson, but none of the charm that miniatures, oversaturated colours and a lot of whim bring. St. Vincent is much more realistic.
Because even though St. Vincent isn’t the best movie ever, it’s a very good, very enjoyable film that has a really important message. This message is that we don’t need to be superhuman to be heroes, to have a lasting impact on someone’s life, to be good people. In fact, sometimes, it’s enough to be an angry old war veteran who hates people, drinks too much but just can’t stop being a decent person, all in all. Jaeden Lieberher’s character Oliver at some point talks about Vincent’s cat, which pretty much sums up how the man works: «This is Felix. Felix eats luxury cat food while Vincent eats sardines.»
The plot is predictable, let’s be honest here. However, that’s not a bad thing, because even if you know the ending, the movie is still funny and tragic and it just hits you in all the right places. When Vincent’s life eventually catches up with him, it’s a sad ten minutes. When Vincent gets revealed, it’s emotional and the cinema went quiet. This isn’t just due to Bill Murray’s stellar performance, but also because the script has an important message that has been well packaged by writer/director Theodore Melfi.
All in all, St. Vincent is a good movie and you should go see it. That is all.