A bit of a bore, old chap
Clint Eastwood stars and directs in this tale of the making of a movie not dissimilar to The African Queen. The character of John Wilson is really director John Huston, and Eastwood plays him as a dry witted intellectual with a rapid, somewhat effeminate speech pattern. Perhaps that's a great imitation of John Huston - I couldn't say, but watching Eastwood prattle on in this role would be like me starring in the life story of Gary Coleman - it's just plain wrong. My first thought was that maybe Eastwood is just so strongly typed as a tough guy, that I can't see anything but the actor. But no, the real problem is that there is a lack of expressiveness, of any real variance in the delivery. It's as if he put so much effort in mastering this particular cadence of speech, it would have been a sacrifice to alter the delivery.
That said, this John Wilson is quite a character, and says the most outrageous and usually abrasive things, albeit slightly effeminately and with the face of Clint Eastwood. This leads to situations that apparently are supposed to interest us, and occasionally do.
A good portion of the movie is concerned with Wilson's obsession with shooting an elephant, ignoring all else, even shooting his own movie. The fascination isn't well explained and isn't that compelling, though it certainly has its consequences.
The film shows a lot of the flaws of an adapted work, which in a sense it is. What I don't understand is why they didn't take advantage of being ostensibly fiction to make the storyline more compelling.
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