Published On: Thu, Nov 3rd, 2022

Living review: A ‘slight story’ saved by veteran actor’s ‘finely calibrated performance’ | Films | Entertainment

Box-office receipts may be modest but Bill Nighy’s Oscar hopes must be riding high as he’s swamped with early praise for a touching lead performance in a tasteful adaption of Akira Kurosawa’s 1952 classic Ikiru (To Live).

The Remains Of The Day writer Kazuo Ishiguro and director Oliver Hermanus have transported the action from post-war Tokyo to post-war London but they stick closely to Kurosawa’s heart-rending story.

Once again, we follow the joyless routine of a widowed civil servant as he sleepwalks to retirement in an office ruled by bureaucracy, routine and deferential social codes.

After he’s diagnosed with a terminal illness, Mr Williams (Nighy), head of London County Council’s Public Works Department, begins to look back on a life unlived.

But it’s a chance meeting with a former co-worker (Aimee Lou Wood) that spurs him into action. Inspired by her youthful zest for life, she becomes his only confidante.

“It’s a bit of a bore but…” he smiles sheepishly before revealing he only has a few months to live.

But Mr Williams wants to make them count and hits on the modest goal of getting one useful proposal through County Hall.

Without Nighy, the sluggish pace, slight story and mannered dialogue could be underwhelming.

But the veteran actor turns them to his advantage, giving a finely calibrated performance defined by strangled smiles, awkward pauses and the slightest wobbles in a stiff upper lip.

  • Living, Cert 12A, In Cinemas Now

Source link

Most Popular News