This New Year’s Eve, revered screen star, Oscar winner, Knight Bachelor of the British Empire and CBE Anthony Hopkins will turn 85. So one always checks to see how many films he has in the can awaiting release when one reviews his latest.
You never know when he’ll hang it up and which film will be his last. But he has three more due out, as of this writing.
That’s worth noting in writing about “Where Are You,” his latest, just now going into limited release. Because even at this late stage of the game, Hopkins is still managing to break new ground on screen, and we’d hate for this fiasco to be his last.
“Where Are You,” a comically-pretentious, artless and yet self-consciously arty dream drama than bends into an inane missing person mystery, is the worst film of Anthony Hopkins’ career.
He’s not barely in it, more of a featured player with what I counted were three scenes or so. He gets top billing, because whatever else filmmakers Valentina De Amicis and Riccardo Spinotti don’t know, they’re not stupid enough to think that having Georgian hunk Irakli Kvirikadze, a bunch of runway beauties and Jack Nicholson’s son Ray topping the credits would sell one ticket.
Hopkins plays the mysterious “Thomas” who narrates as he scribbles away in the opening, pondering how “all the loves dance and completely disappear.”
He serves no discernable function in the narrative.
The film is about smoldering fashion photographer Nicolas (Kvirikadze) who has a new book of art photography out and sits down for a bizarre TV interview that is intercut with scenes of him in his idyllic, privileged life with his “muse,” the gorgeous and willowy Matilda (Camille Rowe).
They make love, frolic and caress each other in their seaside villa, but Matilda narrates in voice-over the trouble on the horizon. “We’ve always been a team, but the artist is nothing without his muse.”
Of course he had other loves before her. He’s even pondering temptations while they’re together, giving credence to the old saying “No matter how gorgeous she is, there’s always some dude tired of waking up next to ‘that.'”
The interviewer (Christopher Ashman) rudely challenges him with “Is this the last gasp of a dying artist?” and “Don’t you see how empty all of this is?” questions. But Nicolas has it all and can’t see it.
Then his BFF the surfer (Ray Nicholson) dies. And Matilda disappears with a “Don’t call, don’t look for me, forget me” note. Nicolas is led to believe that she’s been kidnapped. His search for her takes him to the ends of the Earth — which as U2 taught is, Joshua Tree, California.
“Where Are You” is largely a collection of beautiful people doing beautiful things in beautiful places, gorgeous women and stunning flowers, gorgeous women framed by stunning flowers. It’s all beauty without dramatic form right up to that mid-point, when melodrama — badly-written and acted melodrama — takes over. Think I’m exaggerating?
“The greatest sadness is being unable to kiss an invisible woman.”
I’m not familiar with the works of the co-writers/directors, but checking their IMDb page, this appears to be a reworking of a movie they couldn’t get released three years ago under the title “Now is Everything.” Unlike fine wines, films don’t improve simply by leaving them in a dark, cool place for a few years. And whatever they did to make this sellable didn’t “fix” it.
As for two-time Oscar-winner Sir Tony, one holds out hope for “The Son,” “Zero Contact” or “Armageddon Time,” which are rolling out over the new few weeks and months. Because nobody wants to, as Sean Connery put it, “exit with a stinker, which was “The League of Extraordinary Gentleman” in his case.
Rating: unrated, sex, nudity, profanity, off-camera violence
Cast: Irakli Kvirikadze, Camille Rowe, Madeline Brewer, Angela Sarafyan, Ray Nicholson, Mickey Sumner and Anthony Hopkins.
Credits: Directed by Valentina De Amicis and Riccardo Spinotti, scripted by Valentina De Amicis, Matt Handy and Riccardo Spinotti. A Gravitas Ventures release.
Running time: 1:35