The DVD Wrapup: Barney’s Version, Season Of The Witch, Sucker Punch, Erasing David, Tetsuo, The Warrior’s Way, Camille 2000 …
Barney’s Version: Blu-ray
Although few things are certain in life, it’s safe to say any movie in which Paul Giamatti appears is going to save some aspiring actor, somewhere, the cost of attending a master class in acting. If there’s nothing else to like in the picture – an unlikely proposition, considering his many fine credits – Giamatti’s performance is going to raise a smile.
Even when he plays characters that are chronically unhappy or unapologetically misanthropic – which is to say, almost always – he gives viewers a reason not to regret their investment at the box office. Is this a long way of cautioning potential renters of “Barney’s Version” that Giamatti’s performance, alone, trump the gloom and unhappiness that pervades everything else in the picture? Sort of, I guess. It is, however, worth knowing ahead of time that Giamatti’s Barney Panofsky is not someone in whose company many people normally would want to spend two hours. Barney isn’t evil, merely unpleasant when he’s drunk, which, yes, is pretty much always.
Adapted from a novel by Mordecai Richler, “Barney’s Version” is of a piece with “The Apprenticeship of Duddy Kravitz” and “Joshua Then and Now,” all which of trace the precarious life paths taken by Jewish males, who hailed from working-class roots in Montreal. Here, Panofsky narrates his own story, focusing on the circumstances surrounding his three marriages and the mysterious death of his closest friend, Boogie (Scott Speedman). Rosamund Pike is the other very good reason to see “Barney’s Version.”