Photo: River Road Entertainment
Over the years, the Venice International Film Festival has become the launching pad for major awards-season releases. In the process, it has also become the launching pad for the major awards-season Exhibition of, Movies are a thing in themselves. (In the midst of an ongoing arms race of standing ovations, it can still be hard to tell which movies will really resonate with audiences and award bodies and go the distance, especially with Toronto and New York and the holiday- Movie season is still on the horizon.) But praise-bound performances—which you can see a mile away—are. And the dazzling, fan-filled, red-carpet atmosphere of a film festival in September often seems like the perfect showcase for them, even if the movies themselves aren’t glamorous.
Venice is filled with lots of big, bold, showy twists that scream, “Look at me!” Cate Blanchett Is the greatest conductor of our time TeaFeatherR, anne of arms Is Marilyn Monroe Inn White, Hugh Jackman Is in a sad father Son, Timothy Chalameta Is a country-boy cannibal in Bones and All, Brendan Fraser Is 600 pound inches whale, And so on. These actors make gestures, they scream, they cry, they die (sometimes), and they make We Weeping For the most part, he has earned his hosanna. But it can be refreshing sometimes, in the midst of all these alpha-dog master thespians, to see someone quietly watching our heartbeats only be present and, seemingly, not doing much. That’s where Walton Goggins comes in.
Goggins is here this year with a movie called dreamin’ wildWritten and directed by Bill Pohlad – director of the 2014 Brian Wilson biopic love and kindness, Here, Pohlad finds another real-life music-industry story about the slippery nature of family and success. This time, it’s the story of Donnie and Joe Emerson, two brothers from Fruitland, Washington, who as teenagers in 1979 put out a cute little album called dreamin’ wild, Recorded independently in a studio their father had built for the children on the family farm, the album did zero business and disappeared. But in 2008, a record collector in Spokane rediscovered the album, and it began spreading right into indie circles. dreamin’ wild It was re-released and garnered an 8/10 rating on Pitchfork, and suddenly the Emerson brothers received the acclaim and fame they had longed for since childhood. But his life had changed, and the psychological and financial damage of his failed dreams had already been done. (The film is based on a 2016 article by Steven Kurutz.)
The movie is… well, it’s not great at all. The story is interesting, sure, but Pohlad’s script is ham-handed and clear-cut—so much so that it can often leave you out of the film. Casey Affleck as Donnie, the singer-songwriter who plays most of the brothers’ music, is so talented that he sometimes employs clunky, on-the-nose dialogue. He has to make capitala acting in this. But it’s Goggins who captivates you with his cool performance as the other Brother Joe. While Donnie has continued to perform at local bar gigs with his wife (Zooie Deschanel), Joe, who plays drums on the original album, has remained mostly stagnant all these years. He lives on the family farm and has slowly built a beautiful house with his own hands. We are told that he loved someone for a while, but she died. He is not a sad brooder though. He just seems like an average person living his life.
Goggins has played all kinds of characters in his career, including heavy ones, and he’s able to deliver the kinds of performances shrunken into the background along with wild, scene-stealing twists. He has always struck me as a kind face, a very human face. You watch Goggins, and you’re immediately reminded of real people you know, not only because of what he looks like but because of the lively nature of his performances. As for Joe, he’s observant but awkward, looking like he’s about to say something, but maybe he’s thought about it better. He sometimes seems content to stand back and observe.
When Emerson begins preparing to perform again, which conflicts with drums – we find that he is not playing much music in the intervening years, even though he is initially concerned about the re-release of his album. more enthusiastic. who is happy to be along for the ride. This is because, as we eventually realize, he is happy for his brother and his family. He believes Donnie is a genius with ambition and drive; On the other hand, who is out of love. He is passive but not in the weak way that movies often present passivity. That’s because so many of us are in the real world. And Goggins portrays that with such a sweet, sober sense that, after all, all you’re doing is watching him.
I think the film knows this. dreamin’ wild, as I see it, has its issues: The lines of dialogue are so sharp that I actually found myself laughing during some serious scenes. But great performances don’t happen in a vacuum, and credit should go to Pohlad for knowing what to do with Goggins. There’s a very good chance that, among all the scintillating, award-worthy performances from this year’s plethora of Venice lineup, this is one of a handful that will really stick with me.