Ap­proach­ing the speed of life

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - FILM REVIEWS - DON­ALD CLARKE

RE­SULTS Di­rected by An­drew Bu­jal­ski. Star­ring Guy Pearce, Co­bie Smul­ders, Kevin Cor­ri­gan, Gio­vanni Ribisi, An­thony Michael Hall, Brook­lyn Decker, Con­stance Zim­mer. Club, IFI, Dublin, 104 min You wouldn’t ex­pect any­thing so con­ven­tional and bour­geois as a “mes­sage” from a film by An­drew Bu­jal­ski. This is, af­ter all, the sly direc­tor be­hind such oblique near-come­dies as Mu­tual Ap­pre­ci­a­tion and Com­puter Chess. Yet Re­sults does end up say­ing some­thing. Maybe the peo­ple who seem the most fas­tid­i­ously con­trolled are the ones with the most pro­found prob­lems. Af­ter all, you don’t build a con­tain­ing fence around an empty space. There are, more of­ten, fierce beasts in there.

The su­pe­rior be­ings in Re­sults are played by popular su­per-hu­mans Guy Pearce and Co­bie Smul­ders. This is Bu­jal­ski’s first film with real movie stars and he takes full ad­van­tage of his ac­tors’ wattage to make all around seem that bit less lu­mi­nous. Trevor (Pearce) runs the Power 4 Life gym in Austin. Kat (Smul­ders), a for­mer squeeze, is his most en­thu­si­as­tic staff mem­ber. Early on, we are alerted to her fa­nati­cism when, while out run­ning, she pur­sues a car and be­rates the driver for not pay­ing her gym fees.

The story kicks off prop­erly when Danny (Kevin Cor­ri­gan), a mildly over­weight, prop­erly di­shev­elled in­di­vid­ual, pops in to sign up for a fit­ness regime. Danny has first-world prob­lems of the least pitiable stripe. Hav­ing re­cently fallen into an in­her­i­tance, he doesn’t know how to spend his money.

He knocks around a big house, strum­ming a gui­tar, smok­ing dope and fail­ing to get his enor­mous TV to work.

Su­pe­rior: Co­bie Smul­ders and Guy Pearce in Re­sults

When he makes an un­threat­en­ing pass at Kat it all starts to kick off.

Or rather it doesn’t. Shoot­ing in flat light with un­hur­ried edit­ing, Bu­jal­ski never forces the jokes or ar­ti­fi­cially height­ens the drama. The new film is a lit­tle less dead­ened than his ear­lier work, but still moves at close to the pace of real life.

Nonethe­less, Re­sults is of­ten prop­erly funny. Danny’s at­tempts to be a gal­lant saviour to the sup­pos­edly mis­used Kat are given gen­tle lev­els of ab­sur­dity by a game Pearce. Kat’s neu­roses sim­mer amus­ingly be­neath ev­ery coolly de­liv­ered put­down.

Mean­while, Danny shrugs his way to­wards some life-chang­ing de­ci­sions with a re­al­ism that the two beau­ti­ful peo­ple – all Tri­umph of the Will – can’t quite man­age.

Yes, there’s a les­son there.

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