the fresh films reviews

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Kinsey (2004)

Bill Condon
118 minutes
Gail Mutrux
Bill Condon

Cast includes:

Alfred Kinsey Liam Neeson
Clara McMillen Laura Linney
Wardell Pomrroy Chris O'Donnell
Clyde Martin Peter Sarsgaard
Paul Gebhard Timothy Hutton
Alfred Seguine Kinsey John Lithgow
Thurman Rice Tim Curry
Herman Wells Oliver Platt
Alan Gregg Dylan Baker
Alice Martin Julianna Nicholson
Kenneth Braun William Sadler



Bill Condon knows the importance of Alfred Kinsey and his work, but he still lets the viewer figure it out mostly by himself in this well-conceived and poignant biography. Liam Neeson's performance is not only a powerhouse, but a delicately detailed one. His performance outlines the shifts in mood and focus in the film, which is a magnificent blessing for the likes of Bill Condon - once the director of fairly mediocre horror films who broke onto the big scene with the James Whale-biography Gods and Monsters in 1998. He perfects his business here, adding good-natured but essential comedy in nice portions while always letting the red line of Kinsey's life stay near the surface of attention. The film is made with a sense of class, acknowledging both the unbiased mind its protagonist has to the material and how the audience of today will attend to it.

As a dramatic biography, Kinsey is powerful not only in a social and historical context, but also as the portrait of a man whose drive and dedication sometimes overrode other aspects of his life. Things Kinsey never did intentionally, but by being the devoted man he was. It bears resemblance to John Nash in Ron Howard's A Beautiful Mind, and Neeson's performance doesn't fade in the light of Crowe's - which is a remarkable compliment. By Neeson's side, Laura Linney continues her fine vain of form with another heart-on-sleeve-performance, while the rest of the supporting cast (although partly typecast) is delightful.

Copyright 16.5.2005 Fredrik Gunerius Fevang [HAVE YOUR SAY]