Thursday, May 20, 2010

CHAPLIN (1992)

“I would have been a total disaster if I hadn’t invented the tramp.”

Some films deserved to be made; especially if it’s on the life of the greatest phenomenon ever happened to the silent era Sir Charles Chaplin. Based on Chaplin’s own autobiography, the film is a not just a glory tale of Chaplin as a star or icon but also an honest biopic to know the dearest Charlie and his life quite closely. Its rags to riches story and the making and the breaking of the world’s most famous entertainer of all time. Was Charlie in real life as content and as happy as in his films? ‘My only enemy is time’, said Chaplin.

Narrated interestingly with flashback of his life and present where an old Charlie was interviewed by a writer played by Anthony Hopkins. We witness some of the wonderful moments of his first child act on stage, his first date, his first dressing as the tramp, his first direction, the ladies of her lives and above all a close rival and friend Douglas Fairbanks. It’s wonderful to know how the great depression era and the rise of machine age propelled him to make ‘Modern Times’ and a comment at party spurred him to make the first talkie of his career ‘The Great Dictator’. If there are women who ruined his personal life, the talkies ruined his career. Talkies did arrive but he remained adamant on his conviction that the tramp can’t talk and the rest is history who made even Albert Einstein dropping tears. Still this great humanitarian was constantly stated as communists and unofficial US citizen; then FBI director J. Edgar Hoover remained a constant eyesore who finally plotted the fake pregnancy to manipulate Chaplin’s fame and career and later made a political stunt by expelling him from the US for 20 damn years until 1972 where he only returned to get his special Academy Award for his immense contribution.

Shot in beautiful color cinematography, the film is technically flawless in production; another worthy achievement in the cap of Director Richard Attenborough. But it wouldn’t be made without brilliant and impressive performance of great Robert Downey Jr. at age of 27.; undoubtedly his best act. Even after dressing and makeup it’s damn difficult to carry all those trademark slapstick fun of Charlie with authentic expressions but Downey Jr. is an actor to watch. He abstained melodrama and presented lifelike figure; behind all Chaplin act he maintained the face of flawed human being just like one of us representing young to old age. Great performance indeed!

‘If you want to understand me watch my movies,’ said the great tramp. So true…’City light’ is still my number one favorite love story. Ohh I again carried out by this great artist…have to watch his all films once again.

Don’t miss it…its one of the greatest biopic I’ve ever seen.


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