PITTS ARE ALL AT SEA

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Lifestyle -

THE Pitts team up for the first time since Mr and Mrs Smith (2005) to again ex­plore a mar­riage break­down, this time with­out the gun­fire and fist fights.

Strug­gling writer Roland (Pitt) and his dis­tant, de­pressed for­mer dancer wife Vanessa (Jolie Pitt) re­treat to a tiny, se­cluded sea­side town in France so he can write and they can rekin­dle the flame.

The gor­geous lo­ca­tion does lit­tle to in­spire ei­ther of them as he sits alone get­ting drunk in the ho­tel cafe while she sits in the room and broods.

Young new­ly­wed couple Fran­cois (Melvil Poupaud) and Lea (Lau­rent) next door in­spire a spark, as Vanessa and Roland watch their neigh­bours eat, drink and make love through a hole in the wall.

Roland thinks this is what the couple need to re­dis­cover their in­ti­macy but Vanessa’s mo­ti­va­tion for watch­ing is murky.

There are some in­ter­est­ing un­der­de­vel­oped themes of voyeurism, re­la­tion­ship ri­valry, de­pres­sion and sup­pressed sex­u­al­ity but Jolie Pitt ap­pears too pre­oc­cu­pied with lin­ger­ing on the same im­agery to de­velop them fur­ther.

At times By The Sea is a tough slog, like be­ing stuck in a room with a skip­ping record, as the char­ac­ters re­peat be­hav­iour, glances and angst un­til the cause of Vanessa’s agony is blurted out at the end like the punch line of a joke and with­out any time for re­flec­tion.

While her script and di­rec­tion may not yet be re­fined, Jolie Pitt de­serves ku­dos for cre­at­ing her­self a com­plex and deeply un­like­able char­ac­ter. By The Sea has some gen­uinely in­ter­est­ing and fas­ci­nat­ing mo­ments but the re­wards are too few and far be­tween.

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