31 October 2013

Behind the Candelabra

Back in June the big production houses passed up on a gem of a film due to it's subject matter. However, HBO got their hands on it and boy did it pay off! With the overall look of a Hollywood production (minus the funding), Behind the Candelabra is a gloriously glitzy narrative through and through. Once again, director Steven Soderbergh who brought us the likes of the iconic Oceans Eleven and the more recently Side Effects, provides us with a fabulously executed film. 

Liberace - a man who was hiding the obvious truth that he was gay; hiding behind the candelabra and certainly his piano. Not to mention the outlandish and eccentric wardrobe the man created for himself. Before I even mention the two leading actors, costume designer Ellen Mirojnick and her team did as much for this film as the director did. Every outfit is fantastically sparkly and true to how the man wanted to be perceived by audiences around the world.  Here we are in Las Vegas, Palm Springs. Lavish mansions, the endless flow of champagne and a man who is extremely unsure of himself. Chasing after younger men seems to be the only way to constantly reassure himself that he is still attractive to those around him (despite the colorful facade!). Scott Thorson, an aspiring veterinarian happens to find himself falling for this outrageous ensemble and ends up becoming Liberace's lover. At first it is all new suits, new cars and swanky restaurants - only later to be more than Scott  bargained for.

This intimate and interesting biopic was the perfect chance for audiences to see two top Hollywood actors really showing us what they're capable of. The talent here is endless. Not for a nano second do we doubt the intensity of their relationship as it translates on screen, both Damon (Thorson) and Douglas (Liberace) giving shockingly superb performances. The journey that Damon's character takes, from being a standard teenage boy to a man pampered and practically a play thing for Liberace to mold, is just extraordinary. Jealously over takes their fairy-tale friendship, until the spark is non existent. Having Scott Thorson himself working with the writers, really shows on screen. You feel the good times and most importantly the pain that both men went through to hide their sexuality. With great music, ideal locations and performances that exceed expectations (including the supporting cast) Behind the Candelabra is a must see. Behind the Candelabra is now available on Blu ray and DVD - grab a copy and enjoy the wonders of Liberace.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh
118 mins (2013) 15 

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