Day 185: The Living Wake (2007)

16 Dec

Hello everyone!

Tonight I watched the movie The Living Wake, and I wanted to feature it today. Which means I love it. A lot.

I actually wrote a legitimate review of it, so here goes nothing…

I remember the first time I saw the preview for The Living Wake (2007), starring Mike O’Connell and Jesse Eisenberg. I’m pretty sure I watched it about fifteen times and then proceeded to show it to my neighbors and other random people living in the dorms with me. There was something about this boisterous man and his strange companion, tackling the issue of death, that struck me so hard. I wanted to see it immediately, but I knew that was not going to happen any time soon.

Alas, I was correct. But tonight, I finally had the chance to sit down with it.

Instead of doing an average movie review, I kind of want to highlight the points of this movie that caught my attention.

But first, a plot synopsis. And the trailer

K. Roth Binew (Mike O'Connell) and Mills Joquin (Jesse Eisenberg) on their Rickshaw in "The Living Wake

K. Roth Binew (Mike O’Connell) is a boisterous man, a failed artist on all fronts, and a dead man. He has been told that he has a rare, vague disease that is set to kill him, and he has one day left to live. With his formally-mute, biographer, man, and only friend Mills Joquin (Jesse Eisenberg), he is on a quest to discover the true meaning of life by embracing all around him. Together, the two get into hijinks that causes and uproar in the town, followed by the Living Wake, a show put on by the two as a way to welcome death. It’s full of humor and weirdness, kindness and sadness, but overall it is an amazingly well-crafted film on all fronts!

So here are my random thoughts on the film:

1.  The best part of this film is the language. To this moment, I am still incredibly unsure when this film is supposed to be taking place (my guess is the 1940s), but K. Roth’s language is so obscure that it provides an added hilarity to the already strange situation. He calls a liquor store clerk a “liquorsmith”, discusses random insights of wisdom with Mills and other unfortunate beings, and talks about his life with great knowledge. I was so fascinated by his word choice that it was often the reason I was laughing so hard in the first place!

2.  At one point, he said that he took a job being a benevolent dictator of an ant farm. Does there need to be more proof than that?!

3.  Jesse Eisenberg is definitely a big name, now with Zombieland (2009) and The Social Network (2010) under his belt, but this movie is just mystifying. He is soft-spoken, often backing up the main character with the right amount of intensity. Mills  was kind of the yin to the yang that is K Roth, providing the also quite boisterous but lesser look on the whole situation. Plus, with such a soft face like Jesse Eisenberg, it’s such a pleasure to get to know and love a character. On another day (possibly tomorrow) I’d like to discuss Jesse Eisenberg in a main spotlight, mainly because I have a lot to say about this actor!

4.  Both of the main characters, even with their extreme flaws, were incredibly touching. By the end of the movie, I was constantly hoping that the whole thing was just a joke, that K. Roth was going to trick these people and continue on with his life. Sure, he’s kind of an asshole, but his personality was so attracting (not in a sexual way) that I couldn’t help but love him! Mills was so sweet and silly that I don’t think anyone could be mad at his character.

5.  I was shocked with the strange, sad twists it took periodically. It kind of reminded me that while this is a comedy, this is still the last day of a dying man. Something so comedic has to take a turn for the worst sometimes. But even through the sadness, I thought it was well balanced and enjoyable.

6.  The film was shot beautifully. I wanted to be wherever they filmed it, and the scenes were often set in this yellow-ish tint that gave it that old-timey feeling.

7.  The soundtrack is incredibly enthralling even in it’s simplicity. In fact, I left the DVD menu on in the background to listen to the soundtrack! Hopefully it will be available soon!

8.  This is definitely a movie I’d like to watch twice in a row, and I’m pretty sure I’m going to add it to my favorite movies list.

Check out a promotional video below!

(as a bonus, here’s another promo they did for the film)

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2 Responses to “Day 185: The Living Wake (2007)”

  1. Janna December 17, 2010 at 9:54 am #

    I heard you laughing in the other room while you watched it! It was a joy! The movie kinda reminded me of Whithnail and I. Thoughtful, silly, yet sad.

    • margasaur December 17, 2010 at 10:42 am #

      Very much like whithnail and I! I didn’t even think of that!

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