BY THE SEA (122 minutes, 15A). Directed by Angelina Jolie Pitt. Starring Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie Pitt, Mélanie Laurent.
The Gist: Groovy sexy couple Roland and Vanessa Bertrand (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie) breeze into a small French resort in a top-down Citroën DS blaring Serge Gainsbourg. Roland is a blocked writer and Vanessa is tormented by an unspecified depression. He drinks, she pops pills. Whenever he raises the topic Roland is shut down, and the only pleasure the couple share is from spying on the energetic newlyweds in the next room.
The Skinny: It seems that writer/director Jolie has set out to make a Michelangelo Antonioni movie. And she just about pulls it off – until the clunky resolution, that is. There are more than enough clues in the pregnant pauses and pointed glances without the need to have the source of Vanessa’s depression spelled out. It’s a needless revelation that destroys any sense of mystery. Jolie is fascinating, using her unorthodox beauty to project Vanessa’s suffering, but Pitt is remarkably unconvincing in the role of husband. By the Sea is never less than beautiful – shot by veteran cinematographer Christian Berger (The White Ribbon) using natural light – but it’s dreadfully self-indulgent.
TLDR: Scenes from a (really bad) marriage.
By the Sea is in cinemas tomorrow.
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