Thursday, February 16, 2012

Madonna: W.E.

Abbie Cornish, W.E., Weinstein Co., 2012.

The interstices of memory, history and desire are visualized brilliantly in Madonna's hypnotic, meandering sophomore feature film, the uncompromising W.E. The choices and loves of two women interconnect and react in the mind of one, our indefatigable heroine Wally ( enchanting Abbie Cornish), and in the mind of another, our tireless director, Madonna.

Mirroring the scandal of the century, free-spirited divorcee Wallis Simpson's (remarkable Andrea Riseborogh) love affair with the enamored Duke of Windsor (James D'Arcy), we follow Wally through her waking life, her job, her wanderings, her fascination with this particular love story from the past.

Meeting a kind security guard (Oscar Isaac) at an exhibit on the Duke and Duchess, her dreaming life begins to take over. Dazed images bruise the frame and blur the edges of Wally's desire. Not in some time has the inner world of a woman been portrayed so freshly on the big screen.

Hagen Bogdanski shoots the tale with an ecstatic leaning towards the visualizing the dreaming we all do. Composer Abel Korzeniowski creates themes of gorgeous beauty to accompany these sumptuous images. Madonna and Alek Keshishian's screenplay is adventurous and committed to unraveling the spell its creator has wished to cast.

In the end, we are left with the inescapable feeling that we've been dreaming awake. While imperfect, Madonna's second film stings with the conviction of dreams truly achieved.

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