Half beer, half lemonade, all genius

As a 33 1/2 birthday treat I went to see Tristram Shandy last night and I have to say it was one of the best movies I’ve seen in a long time. Hilarious, awkward, intense and pretty deep – the theatre was laughing the whole way through, even drowning out the sounds of the subway below (ah, the Angelika). Steve Coogan is amazing, playing himself, Tristam Shandy and Tristram’s father all at the same time, often overlayed as the interplay between the actual story and the making of the movie come together. The layers of interaction between story and reality are constantly changing, right to the very end.

Let me give you an example, in the middle of the movie proper Steve Coogan, dressed as Tristram, watching a younger version of himself, that is Tristram, played by a child actor who was ‘the best of a bad bunch’, in an awkward situation only to change, seconds later, to being Steve Coogan having finished shooting the scene and walking to an interview with Tony Wilson, who Coogan played in 24 Hour Party People, where he asks Wilson not to introduce the interview with ‘Knowing me, Tony Wilson, knowing you, Steve Coogan’ as he is trying to outgrow ‘a comedy series that was eight years ago – I’m a serious actor now’. Having passed this social gaffe, Wilson completes the interview only to turn to camera to tell us that the whole interview will be available on DVD as one of the many extras. Genius. Intense, maddening, wonderful genius.

[IMDB: Tristram Shandy]

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