Despite rumors that Side Effects was Steven Soderbergh’s last film, the director has brought another offering to our big screens in the form of Behind the Candlebra – although it is not technically a feature, on regards to it being produced by American Television giant HBO as a T.V. film, but it does receive a theatrical release over here.
Adapted from a book written by Scott Thorson; who was Liberace’s companion, lover and right hand man for five years. Behind the Candelabra tells the story of that five-year relationship, highlighting the highs and lows of America’s most eccentric classical pianist.
As a general rule of thumb televisions films are usual a bit naff, and this one does nothing to break that rule. Matt Damon -who plays Thorson- puts in a routine excellent performance, which would be Oscar worthy if the academy acknowledged films made for the small screen. Michael Douglas puts in a good performance as Liberace, pulling off the witty dialogue written by Richard LaGravenese with excellent precision.
Despite the dialogue, along with the acting being compelling, and the cinematography striking; this film still failed to hold my intrest. We hardly ever venture outdoors, maybe this is done so that the audience feels closer to the on screen romance perhaps, but we just end up watching a bickering couple natter on for the best part of two hours.
Fans of Liberace will of course enjoy this window in the entertainer’s life, but the casual moviegoer I fear will leave the cinema saying the same thing to them-selves as I did, “I will never get those two hours of my life back”.
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Dan Aykroyd, Debbie Reynolds, Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Rob Lowe, Scott Bakula
Runtime: 118 mins
Cert UK: 15