Many younger films fans of this generation will associate the name Warren Beatty with the recent Oscar controversy more than anything else. This is somewhat a shame as after some quick investigation it’s clear that Beatty is highly acclaimed in many fields of film-making. Having previously been recognised for his acting, writing and directing he takes on all of these once more for his latest film, ‘Rules Don’t Apply’.
In his first film role since 2001 Beatty showcases the life of eccentric businessman Howard Hughes. The film isn’t quite a biopic but instead includes the character of Hughes amongst other drama before he eventually becomes the focal point for the film. Beatty performs well absolutely nailing the lunacy of his character. His work here is very convincing bringing humour and sadness to his role well. The rest of the cast is strangely star-studded including the likes of Alec Baldwin, Ed Harris, Annette Bening, Steve Coogan & Martin Sheen in small supporting roles. Matthew Broderick probably has the largest supporting role and it’s one of his best in years. The two main leads are played by Lily Collins and future young Han Solo, Alden Ehrenreich. Both of these young performers present a lot of talent and they have a warm chemistry together. However, much of their work here, as is the case for the majority of the film, is overshadowed by Beatty’s strong presence. For a large proportion of the film it does feel like the Warren Beatty show. This might have worked if ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ was a biopic but when there are other main characters in the frame too there was just wasn’t enough room for everyone.
One example of this would be the central romance. This just isn’t developed enough to have any real impact on the story. More attention needed to be devoted here for this to enhance the drama that the audience are meant to experience. One potential cause of this underdeveloped relationship could have been the fast paced editing in the first half of the movie. As a viewer it was quite hard to settle into the film due to this and even harder to invest in characters and relationships. However, it’s not all bad, the film certainly looks the part and there is some humour too. These moments usually arise out of character outbursts which echo the thoughts of the audience, always a sure fire way to get a laugh. There are some interesting themes touched upon too but it’s the uneven pace and focus of the narrative that often make the film drag.
Whilst watching and certainly by the time the credits have rolled ‘Rules Don’t Apply’ feels like a subdued Woody Allen flick. The big named cast, strong performances and mild intrigue littered throughout the narrative aren’t enough to warrant a recommendation. However if you find yourself watching it it’s perfectly acceptable as a one time experience. I imagine it’s not the best first on screen encounter with Warren Beatty for any younger film fans and would maybe put the quality down to him being out of practice more than anything else?
Rating – 6/10
Question: What’s your favourite Alden Ehrenreich performance?
(Leave your answers in the comments section below!)
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