CQ - Remastered Dutch psychedelic masterpiece? Not this time. Instead, Roman Coppola's visually brilliant debut film.
Early in Roman Coppola's debut film "CQ" producer Enzo di Martini (Giancarlo Giannini) utters a line to the effect of "We have two weeks to finish the film and have no ending!" This is the first of 91 minutes worth of references, subtle or otherwise, which could possibly have any movie goers who are slightly clued-in laughing through the closing credits. This particular line is a thinly veiled reference to Roman's father, the accomplished wine maker Francis Ford Coppola, but the fun doesn't stop there. In a recent interview with movies.com, Roman Coppola admits to injecting pieces of his father into more than one character in CQ. But as to these references, I hope all of the things I found funny in CQ were meant as such, as I don't recall much other overt laughter in the theater besides my own!
While being somewhat short on plot and character development, CQ is still full of impressive camera work, playfully sloppy editing and tongue in cheek dialogue which makes the whole experience of seeing this movie more than worth while. Luckily, the movie clocks in at a brief 91 minutes. Too much longer, and it surely wouldn't have worked as well.
Ballard's nemisis, Felix de Marco (Jason Schwartzman), is a self absorbed American "prodigy" who is drunk in his own young fame. With every bit of unnecessary exaggeration, Schwartzman turns in quite a comical performance which seems to be modeled after Paul Reuben's character Derek Foreal in the 2001 movie "Blow". Felix de Marco's role is typical of many of Roman Coppola's characters, however. Many interesting people weave themselves in and out of the story without the viewer finding too much out about them, as the movie remains awkwardly focused on Ballard and Valentine, the actress playing Dragonfly in the sci-fi movie. At times, this minimal character treatment works, but in the case of de Marco as well as film director Andrzej (Gerard Depardieu) and Enzo di Martini I would have liked to have seen more.
Another of Coppola's strengths in CQ is the music, as provided by Mellow - sounding like something of a cross between Air, a 60's Chapell Music Library track and Serge Gainsbourg. Mellow perfectly caught the correct vibe for the "Dragonfly" music and captured the 69/70 era very competently. Coppola made heavy use of this music throughout the film too, possibly a byproduct of his work in music video directing before this film..
Paul Ballard does manage to finish both the Dragonfly movie as well as his personal film. To say this does not give away anything important about the story, what there is of it. However, you'll need to go see CQ to find out just how it all does unwind. The foundation of this story is actually not bad, but could have used closer attention to details. However, it's the visual and aural stimuli that will really convince you that your ticket purchase was worthwhile, as Roman Coppola's cinematic debut shows great promise for future movies.
[Published 4 July 2002]
|JO||nov 19 2002 8:01PM|
|Speaking of bringing an apple off the plane, my favorite couple of scenes were the one where he meets his famous father, played by Dean Stockwell, in the airport, and the one where they're driving around Roma. Depardieu did have all the best lines, though. His character was great. Great review.|
|Doug||jul 6 2002 7:42PM|
|Great review Brian. As I watched the film, I couldn’t help but wonder if many of the roles weren’t unintentionally autobiographical, starting with the perennially “hooked up” Schwartzman, then climbing down the Coppola family tree to Sofia’s 30 seconds as the producers Mistress. Unlike the film’s Enzo di Martini, as Executive Producer, Francis Ford Coppola’s only apparent involvement in this project must have been the use of his Rolodex.|
I enjoyed this film as well, knowing full well before I went to see it that its style IS its substance, and to try not to look much further.
|isaac||jul 5 2002 4:45AM|
|Indeed, it would have been nicer to read a review of the Outsiders LP- a masterpiece ... "He bought a poisoned sugarlump-|
in a cafe in the slum..."
Nice article though, as usual, Brian!
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