Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Endless Love (2014)

Year: 2014
Running Time: 103 minutes
Director: Shana Feste
Writers: Scott Spencer (novel), Shana Feste and Joshua Safran (screenplay)
Cast: Gabriella Wilde, Alex Pettyfer, Bruce Greenwood, Joely Richardson, Robert Patrick, Rhys Wakefield, Dayo Okeniyi, Emma Rigby

Endless Love is now showing everywhere and is distributed in Australia by Universal Pictures.

If you need one word to describe Endless Love, that word would be familiar. The word familiar is chosen not only because it is a remake of the 1981 film of the same name, but also because it is a concept we have seen numerous times on the screen. The story of star-crossed lovers who's parents don't agree with their relationship is anything but new and Endless Love has no real point of difference to make it stand out from the rest of the pack.

David Elliot (Alex Pettyfer) has always had eyes for the beautiful and privileged, but extremely innocent and reserved Jade Butterfield (Gabriella Wilde) through their high school years. The two never spoke a word to each other until upon finishing school, a chance encounter at the country club which Davis works at uncovers the attraction between the two and when David comes to the rescue at Jade's graduation party, they are inseparable. However, Jane's overprotective father (Bruce Greenwood) is less than thrilled with his only daughter dating a boy with a troubled past like David who distracts her from her career path. Both their families soon find that nothing they do can keep David and Jade apart.

There is absolutely nothing original about Endless Love. Many have and will continue to question why the 1981 film even needed to be remade. You can almost understand why Shana Feste wanted to bring this tale to the screen once more, as the 1981 film hardly seems relevant or overly well known in todays society. This 2014 version has the inclusion of mobile phones playing a vital part of the relationship as is the case with relationships today, but the overall quality of the two films doesn't really differ a great deal. The earlier film wasn't and still isn't seen as a particularly critical success and neither is this film. In remaking this film you would hope that Feste was hoping to improve on the original, but the film is mediocre at best.

Endless Love is absolutely void of emotion. For a romance film to actually be successful (unless it has a comedy element to it), it has to be moving. This film is not as it just feels so weak. You feel no tension, sadness, happiness or anger throughout the film. The love between David and Jade is sweet, but not relatable or captivating. The real target audience for this film is that of teenage girls who will love the film because it will represent what they hope their first love will be like. For this audience there doesn't need to be any powerful emotions, just something that is light and fluffy and Endless Love is definitely this. The film has been released at the perfect time which is Valentines Day. So even though the audience that will get the most out of this film is younger, it will generate a wider audience who will be able to accept it's content. Whether Endless Love is a film of a high standard is almost irrelevant as it is appropriate either way for the Valentines time of the year.

There are some interesting choices in the cinematography here. There are various montages of the way David and Jade spend their time together. Some of these montages are worthwhile, but others (such as the firecracker scene) would have benefitted more from a continuous shot which would have enhanced the emotional impact of the film by understanding more about the relationship between David and Jade. This would have then led to a bigger feeling of disappointment and sadness for the two when things were not going as planned.

While not an emotionally charged film or a particularly well written film, it is actually a very well cast film. All the roles have the best actors for the part in them and it is a shame they haven't been given more to work with. The characters themselves are the best part of the screenplay as there is great character development for each one of them. Alex Pettyfer does well and gives no reason for people to dislike him. His David is very likable and you always believe the best about him in every circumstance. He and Gabriella Wilde work very well together on screen and physically look perfect as a couple. Wilde is extremely sweet and a perfect choice for the role of Jade with her angelic looks. Both Pettyfer and Wilde have moments where you feel they are on the verge of showing their true potential, but don't have the opportunity to meet that potential in this film.

Joely Richardson is wonderful as Jade's mother, Anne. She is the type of mother you would love to have in a situation you hate to see a good woman in. Bruce Greenwood is also very good as the possessive father, Hugh. He is extremely unreasonable, possessive and often emotionally detached from his family, qualities one would hate in an in-law. Yet with all these he is so interesting to watch. Robert Patrick, who plays David's father Harry, is also very good.

With Endless Love you don't get what you want out of a romance film. However, as it is a Valentines Day release, you can reluctantly accept it.