Sunday, September 12, 2010

The City of Your Final Destination: Movie Review


Like a classic piece of literature performed beautifully.

The City of Your Final Destination is about a young man (Omar Metwally) trying to write a biography of a late writer. He travels to Uruguay to meet the family still living on the estate. It's very reminiscent of The Last Station (2009), and just as good. From director James Ivory, this film exists in the same vein as his literary cinematic icons Howard’s End and A Room with a View. 2009 (with 2010 DVD release)

Directed by: James Ivory

Screenplay by: Ruth Prawer Jhabvala
Based on the novel by Peter Cameron

Starring: Omar Metwally

The cast is completely remarkable. Laura Linney plays the cold, mysterious widow; Anthony Hopkins plays the wise, and yet child-like brother; Charlotte Gainsbourg is an emotionally-affected beauty. As you may have guessed these are all privileged people who can happily spend their time complaining about the past and non-stop obsession with their self-important lives. New-comer Omar Metwally playing Omar Razaghi is a perfectly sculpted character who the audience actually cares to follow, but he was flanked by the opposing Deirdre (Alexandra Maria Lara). Omar is an Iranian-born American grad student and his academic and monetary future relies on the family of late author Gund to give him permission to write his biography. They refuse.

These characters were exquisitely created and performed, it’s easy to get immersed in their lives of fortune and favour. With a few parallels to The Last Station, I was reminded that Hopkins was the original choice to play the elderly Tolstoy, but their schedules never jived. I'm assuming Hopkins then purposely sought out this film to be able to explore some similar characters. Great choice.

In Omar’s quest to win approval from the Gund family, there are romantic entanglements aplenty, side deals, and a possible smuggling angle. There is enough of a plot and certainly the engaging character of Omar to keep this literary story of refined immorality afloat.

Written by the great and pioneering female screenwriter, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, and brought to vision by James Ivory, The City of Your Final Destination explores themes of literature and of people moving on in their lives once they realize that the central figure that once held them all together no longer is, and of course all of their romantic entanglements. It's shot beautifully in South America and plays out like a classic piece of literature. Recommended for fans of character studies and readers of good books. .


Rabbit Hole (2010) - A couple struggling to stay together through grief, religion and science.

Howl (2010) - Allen Ginsberg's poem Howl brought to life.

An Education (2009) - The coming-of-age of a book-smart teenage girl.

The Last Station (2009) - The last days of Tolstoy played out historically and romantically.