December 16, 2012

Filthy Review - 'The Words'

The Words (2012)

Review by Jude Felton

It is always said that you should never judge a book by its cover, and this could very well be true. This is a statement that could also be leveled at Blu-rays or DVDs, as judging from the cover artwork of The Words you can’t really gauge what the film is about. Aside from plastering Bradley Cooper on it, who’s fairly hot property after his turns in the two The Hangover movies, there’s not an awful lot to go on. The fact that it is a film that does have a literary theme, tying in with my opening comment, might not be that surprising, given the film’s title, but I still don’t like the artwork.

The movie itself though, is actually a far more engaging and enjoyable experience. I will say right now that the ending, without spoiling it, may leave some viewers a little cold, but the main meat of the tale was quite nicely done.

The Words opens with Rory Jansen (Bradley Cooper) receiving an award for his novel The Window Tear; an award he seems a little nervous to receive. The action then switches to Clay Hammond (Dennis Quaid) as he speaks about his novel, The Words, and then proceeds to narrate the entire film. The story of which follows Rory, and his rise to literary success, from his beginnings as a struggling author. Rory’s first attempts at writing a novel are met with rejection from all he submits his manuscripts to; it appears he is going nowhere.

However, whilst honeymooning in Paris he finds a tattered old briefcase in a thrift store. Inside the case he discovers an old manuscript, and takes to typing it up onto his computer. One thing leads to another and he has himself a bestseller.

Of course, this is a movie and you just know that things aren’t going to be plain sailing for Rory, and his new found success.

The Words is very much three stories in one; you have Hammond’s story, and narration, Rory’s tale and also the story of the history of the found manuscript, and for the most part it is a most enjoyable film. The main reason being the solid performances from the entire cast, especially Cooper and a great turn from Jeremy Irons.

What I would have liked to have seen though is a bit more depth and suspense to the plot. It jogs along at a merry old pace, and drew me into its web, but then out of nowhere it finished. I have the feeling the directing team of Brian Klugman and Lee Sternthal, who also both wrote the film, thought they had delivered a neat ‘twist’ to the ending. In actual fact there was no real surprise to this, and instead they should have focused on adding a little more meat on to the bones.

Don’t get me wrong, I thoroughly enjoyed the film, I thought the idea behind it was clever and relevant, and if it had been adapted from a Stephen King novel if would probably have been quite terrifying. As it was though The Words isn’t quite sure whether it wants to be a romance or a thriller, or a romantic, dramatic thriller.

Visually it’s all very nice, especially when the film goes back to wartime Paris, and as mentioned all the cast were on their game. I just felt the film was missing a little something to lift it up. At the end of the day it is a movie that is worth checking out, even if just for the performances and a core idea that wasn’t quite given the treatment it deserved.

The Words is a good, yet fairly flawed, way to spend a couple of hours. The version I watched was the Extended Special Edition, which adds about 6 minutes to the theatrical cut. Now, I didn’t see The Words at the theater, but on the strength of this extended cut I would say that this is the version to watch.

The Words is released on Blu-ray and DVD by Sony on December 24th.

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