Phillip is a writer who is just about to have his second book released. The publication is going downhill fast and he is no coping with anything. He wont do press, wont do communication and he has now been kicked off of a piece about another writer (after he punched him in the gut no less!). His girlfriend Ashley is growing more and more apart from him as he becomes more and more distant. When his idol Ike Zimmerman starts to warm up to him. Ike wants Phillip to write more and spend some time at his cabin. Ikes daughter Melanie however feels this is her space and Phillip has to back off!
Listen up Phillip is almost like the works of Walt Stillman, the great director of Metropolitan. This is not to say that the film does not have a ring of Woody Allen, it is just that the director is referencing other directors. Think the film of New New York, for those bright young things that have so much to say but so little that actually matters. These people are not as driven as Allens would be. They have drive and want to do something with their lives and their time here on this mortal coil. They are more stuck in generation next loops, floating along behind the stream of the greats. We all admire many people that have given us great works but these, like myself are stuck behind them. These names that cemented the foundations of modern literature and cinema have also blocked its access to those who have come next.
What I have to say about the film is two things, one good and one bad but two things only. The good in the film is quite simply that it is very, very funny and also very acidic. A very reviewer Liam Ganniclife, said of this style of film writing that it is to draw attention to the absurdity of the narrator and characters. He is spot on, it is a case of the absurd situation of a self involved person being stuck in a life that is both in flux and in flight. He is living among people that are the same as well. They bump into each other and laugh, sting with words and then cry. The writing is not reality, it is the world and space of these people only. I found it helped in adding to the comedy but it also added to the tradegy of the piece. The flashes of word tennis engage you but they also break you occasionally. Linked in with the flashbacks which are beautifully realised. The cast should also be praised for commiting to the written word and the piece at large.
The bad is also simple. The camera work, shot selection, editing and cinematography are jarring. It simply comes from the over reliance of both stedi cam and real space photography. Actors are being filmed at very little distance from it and with the camera moving around them in circles it becomes disorientating. Add this to the light flash, out of focus image and the soft focus hues that melt the image at the center and edges. Stop it please this is so difficult to keep you in sometimes that you just give up. Outside of this, the film is excellent and well worth its weight in paperback books….