A daring new film from internationally acclaimed multimedia artist Carter, Maladies charts the struggles of an unstable former soap opera star in 1960s New York as he tries to restart his floundering creative career. Hoping to find clarity and new purpose as a writer, he holes up with his eccentric sister (Fallon Goodson) at the seaside home of their best friend (Catherine Keener). But as he disappears further into his own mind, reality begins to slip through his grasp. Featuring an award-winning ensemble, including David Strathairn and Alan Cumming, Maladies is a heartfelt but decidedly unconventional exploration of the creative mind.
You could never accuse James Franco of being unwilling to push the creative envelope to the point of bursting … and beyond if it would make a good movie.
A man who is not content to simply rest of his film star laurels, he is constantly looking for new and unusual ways to express himself.
The latest fruit of this continual quest to express his artistic voice in as many ways as possible, which has found expression in op-ed pieces, poetry, music, screenwriting, a slew of movies roles both conventional (Milk, Rise of the Planet of the Apes) and not (Three’s Company the Drama, Interior. Leather Bar.), is the movie Maladies.
Produced in 2012, the film made appearances at a series of movie festivals including Berlin International Film Festival (February 2013) and South by Southwest Film Festival (March 2013) with no sign of a multiplex release until this year.
Quite whether the film will be worth the wait is the subject of some debate among critics.
Indiewire’s Jessica Kiang described it as “wasteful,” “willfully opaque and enigmatic” to the point where she just wanted “to punch the film in the face” while Kurt Loder of reason called it “the worst sort of fake art movie, thuddingly pretentious and unbounded in its egocentricity”.
Hardly a ringing endorsement.
Still it’s always good to push yourself to see some movies that might otherwise passed by unnoticed, and the presence of Franco and Keener has me keen to see if it is really as self-indulgent as it is being portrayed.
Maladies opens in limited US release on 21 March 2014.